After showcasing his final show last year, Jean Paul Gaultier announced a new strategy for his eponymous label: he said he would keep his haute couture business going with a revolving cast of guest designers. And the brand’s first guest designer is: Sacai creative director Chitose Abe.
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Arriving a year after delays due to the ongoing pandemic, the collection was, as Sacai said, “a very intimate, more friendly proposal. [It was like] an invitation to come over for tea. It didn’t feel like two companies coming together, but instead like two people”.
Delving into the maison’s signature pieces, Chitose Abe injected signature streetwear Sacai design elements into 31 looks. She brought her signature hybrid construction techniques to Gaultier staples including corsets, pinstriped suits and sailor tops. Tributes came in the form of Madonna’s iconic conical bra corset, first introduced in Gaultier’s 1987 collection, now form part of the bustiers on Sacai’s iconic trench-inspired dresses; Gaultier’s pinstriped suits reworked with sheer fabrics and deconstructed to create a new Abe-style silhouette; garments marked with tattoo prints from Los Angeles-based artist Dr. Woo in reference to a classic element of Jean Paul Gaultier; or bomber jackets and trench coats are twisted into more evening gowns.
Abe referenced Gaultier’s tradition of upcycling, with a coat and dress featuring an entire rack’s worth of old Levi’s jeans pinned to the back. And some of the silhouettes seemed purely experimental, such as a bulbous green bomber jacket topping a similarly poufy skirt, resembling two scoops of pistachio ice cream.
Chitose Abe also worked closely with Pierre Hardy on overstitched boots and thigh-high boots inspired by Jean Paul Gaultier’s legendary corsets. Additionally, a ready-to-wear drop complete with an ultra-limited edition of Jean Paul Gaultier’s original fragrance marked with Dr. Woo’s tattoo print is now available online.
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©Jean Paul Gaultier