Jean Paul Gaultier is responsible for so many popular fashion trends and design motifs that it can be hard to remember them all. Fortunately, Olivier Rousteing’s one-off haute couture collection for the French house, shown in Paris on Wednesday, serves as a bold reminder of every one of them.
Rousteing follows designers Chitose Abe and Glenn Martens in creating a one-off couture collection for Gaultier, inspired by the retired designer’s legacy. And if he began his design process for this collection by brain-dumping every single thing the name “Jean Paul Gaultier” brought up, he didn’t leave out a single element from that list. That said, the Balmain creative director put his own spin on those codes.
For instance, Gaultier’s famous sailor stripes are patch-worked with scarf motifs into grungey menswear shirts and jackets, or covered in tattoo designs on skin-tight sheer tops. (This is part of a men’s ready-to-wear side project that introduced the couture range.) There are countless iterations of the brand’s conical bra shape, made famous by Madonna — on bustiers, blazers and gowns, including one made of a woven basket material à la caned furniture. Rousteing really pushes the envelope when it comes to materials, including with sculptural dresses made from what looks like shiny silver and gold metal, meant to resemble Gaultier’s famous Le Male and Classique perfume bottles. Trompe-l’oeil techniques — another Gaultier favorite — bring even more whimsy to the runway. Though, I’m not sure who but Rihanna inspired Rousteing to show two leather-clad baby bumps, also featuring the cone boobs.
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Rousteing also incorporates some of his own recognizable Balmain signatures into the collection, like sculptural, party-ready mini dresses and gowns with exaggerated hip and shoulder silhouettes. But as he told WWD, “This collaboration helped me to understand who I am without Balmain.”
See every look from the Olivier Rousteing for Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture collection in the gallery below.