SHARE
COPY LINK

DESIGN

Designer Gaultier ‘retires’ from clothes business

After four decades of shocking and wowing the fashion world, French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier has announded he's going to stop creating ready-to-wear clothes and will focus on artsier haute couture creations.

Designer Gaultier 'retires' from clothes business
Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Jean Paul Gaultier, showman of Paris fashion, is to bow out of ready-to-wear later this month after nearly 40 years of over-the-top, sometimes provocative collections.

The 62-year-old former "enfant terrible" of fashion, who famously designed Madonna's cone bras, will devote himself to couture, the brand's perfume business and other projects, the fashion house said in a statement.

Gaultier's last ready-to-wear collection will be shown on September 27 during the spring/summer 2015 fashion shows in Paris.

The designer told industry journal Women's Wear Daily the decision had been taken after an "in-depth assessment" of the future of the fashion house in which Spanish fragrance and fashion group Puig has a majority stake.

"We looked at various possibilities considering the present state of the company and we have reached the same conclusion," he said.

"For some time, I have found true fulfilment in working on the haute couture, and it allows me to express my creativity and my taste for research and experimentation," he added.

The designer, who still creates stage costumes for performers such as Kylie Minogue, said the decision came as the world of ready-to-wear had "evolved considerably".

"Commercial constraints as well as the frenetic pace of collections don't leave any freedom, nor the necessary time to find fresh ideas and to innovate," he said.

"I will be able again to express my creativity without constraints," he added.

Gaultier, who launched his own company in 1976, started his beauty business in 1991 and an accessories division in 2000.

He moved into haute couture in 1997, and his high-fashion collections are always a highlight of the Paris fashion calendar.

For the finale of his last couture show in July, Gaultier got the bearded Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst to parade down the catwalk resplendent in a black and red vampire-themed gown.

"She is bringing in a new genre — a man with a beard with… virility, but a great femininity," he said afterwards.

In recent years, Gaultier, considered one of France's most talented designers, has been the subject of a major retrospective by the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal.

Since 2011, the exhibition has been seen by a million visitors worldwide and is due to arrive in Paris in 2015.

One room in the exhibition is devoted to "Eurotrash", the outlandish adult television show hosted by Gaultier and Antoine de Caunes on Britain's Channel 4 during the 1990s.

The eccentric designer is still popular in Britain for the show and has said that he continues to be inspired by London where he went "to party" in the 1970s.

WWD quoted market sources as estimating that the fashion house currently generates consolidated revenues of around $38.9 million, with fragrances the most successful part of the business.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

FASHION

Paris exhibition celebrates 100 years of French Vogue

A new exhibition in Paris will tell the story of 100 years of French Vogue - from the post-war 'New Look' of Christian Dior through the sexual liberation of the 1960s to the dangling-cigarette waifs of the 2000s.

French Vogue celebrates 100 years
French Vogue celebrates 100 years. Photo: Thomas Olva/AFP

But as well as celebrating the magazine’s storied history, the exhibit comes at a time of turbulence for the publication.

Just last month, it was confirmed that its editor of 10 years, Emmanuelle Alt, was out and wouldn’t be replaced.

She was not alone.

Looking to cut costs, owner Conde Nast International has axed editors across Europe over the past year, and put international Vogue editions under the direct control of global editorial director, Anna Wintour, in New York.

New York-based Anna Wintour now has overall control of French Vogue. Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP

Like much of the media industry, Vogue is struggling with tumbling sales and ad revenue in the digital era.

But the latest twist is also part of the endless push and pull between New York and Paris going back to its early days.

“The whole history of French Vogue is one of back-and-forth with Conde Nast in New York – growing more independent for a while, then being reined back in,” said Sylvie Lecallier, curator of the new exhibition, “Vogue Paris 1920-2020″, which opened this weekend after a year’s delay due to the pandemic.

The Paris edition was often the loftier, more bohemian sibling to its more hard-nosed New York version.

But it was also the hotbed in which much of 20th century style and womenhood came to be defined.

“Paris was the place to hunt out talent and content and bring it to New York,” said Lecallier.

The exhibition charts the evolution from art deco drawings of the 1920s through the erotic image-making of photographers like Helmut Newton in the 1960s and 1970s.

Its last peak was under editor Carine Roitfeld in the 2000s, who brought back a provocative Gallic identity by ridding the newsroom of foreign staff and becoming a fashion icon in her own right.

Her successor, Alt, was a quieter presence, though she still oversaw key moments including its first transgender cover star, Brazilian Valentina Sampaio, in 2017.

But internet culture has created “a perfect storm” for Vogue, says media expert Douglas McCabe of Enders Analysis.

“The first 80 years of Vogue’s life, it had the market to itself, it was the bible for fashion,” McCabe told AFP.

“But online today, there are so many other ways to get your information. Influencers, Instagram, YouTube — everyone’s a threat.”

In a world where new fashion trends can blow up around the world in seconds, it has become much harder for a monthly magazine to set the pace.

“It’s not that they can’t survive for another 100 years — but they will be differently sized,” McCabe said.

Vogue has tried to branch out into different areas, including events.

“I used to work for a magazine, and today I work for a brand,” Alt said on the eve of French Vogue’s 1,000th issue in 2019.

But the big money was always in print, and Vogue Paris sales are dropping steadily from 98,345 in 2017 to 81,962 to 2020, according to data site ACPM.

It is perhaps unsurprising that the new top job in Paris, redefined as “head of editorial content”, went to Eugenie Trochu, who was key to building the magazine’s online presence.

She declared herself “thrilled to be part of Vogue’s international transformation”.

For the curator of the exhibition, it is ironic timing.

“We had no idea it would end like this when we started work on the exhibition,” said Lecallier.

“Who knows where it will go from here.”

The exhibition Vogue Paris 1920-2020 is at the Palais Galliera in Paris’ 16th arrondissement. The gallery is open 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday and is closed on Mondays. Tickets for the exhibition are €14 (€12 for concessions and under 18s go free) and must be reserved online in advance. 

SHOW COMMENTS