Jean Paul Gaultier Announces Return to Ready-to-Wear
“Les Marins” will launch with the help of 5 guest designers, including Ottolinger and Palomo Spain.
Jean Paul Gaultier is re-launching ready-to-wear after a six-year hiatus from the category to focus on couture and fragrance. The French designer announced the news on Instagram, teasing his upcoming RTW collection — set to debut imminently — with a brief clip of Bella Hadid flanked by two impeccably dressed sailors.
Titled “Les Marins,” the collection features re-interpretations of house codes — namely, Gaultier’s obsession with fetish-tinged mariner wear — by a team of five guest designers: Ottolinger, Palomo Spain, Alan Crocetti, Nicola Lecourt Mansion and Marvin M’Toumo. Going forward, the house’s RTW business will operate on a guest designer model, a scheme that has been implemented successfully at brands including Emilio Pucci and Moncler. In fact, Gaultier’s couture division also utilizes the rotating strategy — Chitose Abe of sacai will helm the house’s first guest-designed couture collection, slated to show in July.
According to WWD, Jean Paul Gaultier RTW will not follow a seasonal calendar. Antoine Gagey, the brand’s general manager, told the trade journal that there will be approximately 10 RTW drops a year, ranging in price from €150 to €750 EUR. Though Gaultier himself won’t be designing the collections, he is still involved in the overall direction of the house.
Gaultier’s RTW comeback follows several unexpected company shake-ups. Just over a year-and-a-half ago, the designer bid farewell to couture with a blowout runway show featuring appearances from Madonna, Dita von Teese and more. Assuaging fears that the house’s couture division would shutter for good, Gaultier quickly followed the show with the announcement of Abe as guest couture designer. Six days ago, the house’s official Instagram account posted a cryptic message announcing “the end” and changed its bio to read, “Welcome to the new era of Jean Paul Gaultier.”
It seems the company is undergoing radical change, perhaps in response to surging interest in the brand. Reaching a younger customer base, influencers including Hadid, Doja Cat and the Kardashian-Jenner clan are often photographed in Gaultier’s coveted mesh separates. And grails such as the designer’s vintage “Safe Sex” tops and “Cyberpunk” dresses are in high demand on resale platforms such as Depop and Vestiaire Collective — according to WWD, the latter saw a 570 percent increase in searches for Jean Paul Gaultier over the past six months.