This haute couture season in Paris marked the grand finale for French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, as he bowed out after a 50-year career. Gaultier shocked his fans when he announced it would be his last couture show, but the surprises didn't end there. Today, the house revealed its new strategy for haute couture: each season, Jean Paul Gaultier will invite a designer to interpret the codes of the house and give their own take on haute couture.
'The idea of different designers interpreting one haute couture brand came to me in the nineties for a Parisian haute couture house who found itself without a designer,' stated Gaultier, regarding his concept idea. The first to get in on the act is the Japanese designer Chitose Abe, founder of Sacai.
Chitose Abe grew up in Gifu prefecture in Japan and her relationship with fashion started from a very young age, as her mother was a seamstress. She began by making clothes for dolls, and as she grew older her designs gravitated towards the human form. Before founding Sacai, she worked as a pattern cutter for Comme des Garçons, and later for Junya Watanabe. Sacai was founded in 1999 as a luxury fashion house that is known for bridging the gap between formal and casual clothing. Moreover, Vogue has cited Sacai as influential in breaking down the dichotomy between formal and casual.
'I have a long held admiration for Jean Paul's unique vision of subversive femininity and his originality, both of which I’ve strived towards in my work since the beginning. It’s a true honour to be given the opportunity to be custodian of his house as the first designer of this project,' confessed the Japanese designer.
Gaultier confirmed that Abe will have complete control over the designs, which are set to be presented in the A/W 20 haute couture season this July, saying, 'I am pleased that this concept will become reality now with Chitose Abe of Sacai as the first guest designer. I admire her work, we have many things in common creatively and share a similar vision of fashion.'
Everyone has their eyes peeled for how Abe's aesthetic will reinterpret the Jean Paul Gaultier house codes, and we're excited to see a new, collaborative era for the French house.