Couture inaugurates the new collection including Sacai and Jean Paul Gaultier
Haute Couture Week was full of novelties: Kerby-Jean Raymond became the first black designer to appear on the official calendar and Demna Gvasalia presented the first couture collection in one of the original fashion houses, Balenciaga, in 53 years. But it was also a return to the status quo in many other ways. The whole of fashion gathered in Paris for the first time in over a year to look at models in the latest exquisite handmade offerings at Chanel, Armani PrivÃ©, Dior and more IRL. There were sit-down dinners, street style, and front rows.
One label that is committed to keeping it fresh in a very special way is Jean Paul Gaultier. Following the announcement of his retirement after 50 years in fashion in a rather cryptic Instagram post in January 2020, Gaultier revealed that his label would live through seasonal collaborations. The first is a revealing partnership with Chitose Abe of Sacai, who has applied his signature splicing approach to numerous Gaultier signings.
All the hallmarks of a good relationship were already there: a mutual love for tartan and stripes, uniform outfits, suits, and a modern take on genderless style. The meeting of these two spirits happened naturally. âI was really surprised,â Abe told BAZAAR.com exclusively on the partnership. âI was invited for tea by Jean Paul and the meeting was so personal and intimate. The conversation was genuine and organic.
âI knew from the start that I wanted to refer to the Jean Paul archives,â says Abe of his approach to designing the collection, âI already knew in my mind what looks before I even saw the pieces from archives. Presumably, Gautlier’s iconic tapered bra from 1984, popularized by Madonna, was at the top of the list. It emerged on a corset, paired with a deconstructed navy striped skirt suit, a beige strapless trench dress with a cinched waist, and another corset layered over a puffy coat, all in navy stripes.
A famous image of a bride and groom in coordinating fisherman sweater looks from a 1998 Gautlier couture collection may also have been on this list. A series of ivory knit looks were noteworthy, as were the nods to those nautical uniforms that Gaultier and Abe have each referenced so expertly individually in the past. And you guessed it, the tartans and light blue stripes of the French Riviera also made eye-catching, often paired appearances. âOne thing Jean Paul said was, ‘design has to be free,'” remarks Abe, “So he really gave me complete freedom to design this collection. And it showed.
Abe’s first foray into couture was well executed, a true encounter between two fashion minds, but not an entirely new experience for the Japanese designer. âFor a ready-to-wear brand, Sacai is also made with a certain complexity, and we also only produce what was ordered, so in some ways working on the tailoring didn’t seem so unusual to us,â she said, âHowever, there were techniques and details such as hand embroidery and the use of certain embellishments that one cannot achieve for ready-to-wear.
This is where true partnership comes in. And that of Abe and Gaultier was not the only presentation. Tattoo prints by Dr. Woo and a shoe collaboration with Pierre Hardy, whose faux fur-trimmed thigh-high boots are reminiscent of Gaultier’s fall 1994 Mongolian collection, also made appearances. The collection of 32 looks culminated in a runway walk (not elevated this time around like Gaultier used to do) by Abe and Gaultier.
Discover the best looks of the collection and buy the capsule collection of 8 pieces of ready-to-wear Gaultier x Sacai including a t-shirt and leggings with these tattoo prints, a Sacai bomber, three “Enfants Terribles” t-shirts , and specially designed limited edition Nike VaporWaffle sneakers on sale now at sacai.jeanpaulgautier.com.
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