Jean-Paul Gaultier’s 50 Years in Fashion

Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

The iconic French designer is retiring, so we are celebrating the enfant terrible of the fashion world!

The Haute Couture show on January 22 will be the last one for Jean Paul Gaultier, as the designer announced he’s retiring. The enfant terrible of the fashion world shook up the Parisian scene back in the 70s, before starting his label in 1982. Gaultier had no formal education but sent his sketches to legendary designer Pierre Cardin. He was invited for an interview and hired on the spot at the age of eighteen. That’s a piece of history that will shape the world. Gaultier always managed to bring fun, to be provocative, while sending an important social message. Not all fashion is art, but the French legend was one since his first steps in the industry.

Gaultier’s biggest successes came in the 90s when he introduced Gaultier Jean’s line, accessories, and perfumes. His first haute couture collection in 1997 was so impressive that two years later he was not only running his own company, he was also in charge of Hermes.

The designer who created the con bra for Madonna back in 1990 always found the inspiration in his hometown of Paris. Similarly to Vivienne Westwood, Gaultier was never invested in trends. Instead, his focus was primarily on silhouette, then later on the fabrics. Playing with traditional gender roles and turning lingerie into outwear was a playful, yet meaningful message to his fans: be whoever you want to be. Breaking the taboos, sending the messages against ageism and sexism, it’s all a small portion of what makes Gaultier so powerful, yet so distinctive. Never without his sketchbook, and with a unique skill to create an atmosphere, the designer worked on several movies. Gaultier also worked in theaters, and he was even a TV host for Channel 5 in the UK since he always had a strong fan base among the Brits.

The house of Jean Paul Gaultier will continue to work. But is this a real retirement or something else? Well, according to the designer himself, he’s working on another project, and the fans will soon know more. As he said on his Twitter account: “Stay tuned … Gautier Paris will go on, the Haute Couture continues! I have a new concept. I’ll tell you all about it later … all the little secrets. Bisou!” So we are saying goodbye to Gaultiuer’s first 50 years, but we are excited to know what’s next. Will he be able to shock us just when we thought we’d seen it all?

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Jean-Paul Gaultier’s 50 Years in Fashion