Foreign Affairs
‘Giant’ of the fashion world announces his retirement

He started out as an apprentice with Pierre Cardin, after which he worked as a designer for Hermes.

One of the ‘giants’ of the fashion world, Jean-Paul Gaultier, has presented his last show before his formal retirement from the world of fashion after a career spanning 50 years.

Jean-Paul Gaultier retired formally at the end of an eccentric fashion parade with prolific models and musicians, including singer Boy George.

Gaultier had announced this would be his last show.

The 67-year-old designer said the time had come for him to step down, although admitting his passion for fashion was still strong.

“It’s good, I think I have not to complain. It’s a long time. But it’s time maybe to rest, not rest because I cannot stop to work, but to do it maybe with some fresh thing.”

Scores of male and female models, including burlesque artist Dita Von Teese and model Gigi Hadid, took part in the extravagant show at the Châtelet Theatre in Paris.

“I’m sure there are (other great designers), but I can’t think of anyone that’s ever done it with the kind of quality and uniqueness that he has. There’s a lot of beauty in haute couture and fashion. But he’s really someone who’s made consistently gorgeous.”

Iconic moments included the display of models with typical Gaultier designs, including clothes he had designed for Madonna’s shows in the nineties and the interpretation by Boy George of the Amy Winehouse song ‘Back to Black’.

Gaultier says there have been phenomenal changes in the fashion industry in recent years and appealed in favour of the promotion of environmental conscience.

“The themes are changing, we are maybe in chaos, in the chaos of many things, you know. So it’s good. And don’t burn the clothes, and recycle them, voila, is what I want to say.”

Gaultier is considered one of the major talents in the fashion world, having been inspired in the early eighties by the punk culture in creations which were typical of the era.