JEAN PAUL GAULTIER

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

One of the most iconoclastic fashion designers of the 20th century, Jean Paul Gaultier, recently announced that he will no longer be producing ready-to-wear collections. On the eve of his major touring international exhibition, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, at Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria, VAULT examines some of the key moments that have encapsulated the Parisian couturier’s spectacular career in fashion.

By Mariam Arcilla

Jean Paul Gaultier was there when I had my first kiss at 16. Having spritzed myself with Jean Paul Gaultier: Classique perfume – which came in a corset-silhouetted bottle stuffed into a tin can – I met a boy for a date and smooched him on the street. Somewhat sheepishly, I can’t quite remember his name, but I can still recall the embracing hints of ginger, fresh anise, vanilla and amber floating around that kiss, slowing down time.

Gaultier launched his eponymous label in 1976, entered the fragrance scene in 1993 and joined the haute couture calendar in 1997. His first scent Classique went on to sell more than 40 million bottles and has proliferated into 55 further colognes for both men and women. His perfume range remains the most lucrative component of his business.

In September, Gaultier announced that his 2014 Spring/Summer collection would be his swansong, leaving him to focus on what he excels in best: haute couture, perfume and special collaborations. This comes at a time when established houses are struggling to compete with the galactic dominance of super brands and fast fashion. In a recent statement to fashion bible Women’s Wear Daily, Gaultier offered this as way of explanation: “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. At the same time, the world of ready-to-wear has evolved considerably. Commercial constraints, as well as the frenetic pace of collections, don’t leave any freedom, nor the necessary time to... Subscribe to read this article in full

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