19 Aug 2022
Olivier Rousteing takes on Jean Paul Gaultier’s couture for the Autumn-Winter 2022-2023 collection. Balmain’s creative director designs a collection of 45 powerful silhouettes while celebrating the codes of the Couture house. A new chapter in the collaborative spirit started by Gaultier.
“For decades, both Jean-Paul Gaultier and his eponymous house have been major forces of modern fashion. To have Jean-Paul Gaultier propose a collaboration was a great honor for me. While working on these designs, I wanted to pay tribute to Gaultier and his amazing legacy—while mixing in my own references, obsessions and emotions.”
As an introduction to this couture runway :14 male figures. Referring to Gaultier’s Fall-Winter 1994-1995 show, their uniforms, as if designed for new territories, inaugurate a collection that pays tribute to the different eras of Jean-Paul.
Celebrating the richness of all cultures, including the many that couture has long ignored, Olivier Rousteing highlights his own recently discovered Ethiopian and Somali origins, as he demonstrates the impressive power and beauty of true inclusivity.
‘The world is rapidly evolving outside of our design studios, and I am constantly inspired by the powerful spirit and beautiful diversity seen on the streets today. That’s why I always stress the need for honesty, direct communication, true inclusion and democratization in the fashion world.’- Olivier Rousteing.
An exclusively male tableau, followed by a fierce group of 45 women. All-powerful. A diverse mix of auras, bodies, complexions and cultures. Transgressive and radical poetry. Busts of pregnant women serve as a metaphor of a new world, 100% Gaultier.
Madonna, pop culture, television, corsets, bustiers, lingerie and tailoring: the pillars of Gaultier’s universe are extended, remastered, and integrated with Olivier Rousteing’s own signatures, including denim, sensual tailoring, streetwear and gender-fluid designs.
Gaultier’s cult deconstructed, and reconstructed suits are reinvented here as hoodies, bondage, jeans, or theatrical dresses. A game of cuts that makes them unique.
Olivier Rousteing’s beloved streetwear segues smoothly into couture. Styled with caps, maximum fleece, and oversized pants, it infuses this collection.
Denim, another shared passion of both designers, is expressed silhouette after silhouette, with over-stitched boyfriend jeans, kilts, blends of cotton and feathers and armor-like mini dresses.
The marinière, Olivier Rousteing and Jean Paul Gaultier’s common obsession, exaggerated in bandages, or literal in silk gauze.
The heart, a recurring shape and symbolic figure in the collection, explodes in XL couture pins, melts into quilted shoulders and unfolds into a multiplied crinoline.
Brides are revealed, confident, already prepared for divorce. In white t-shirts worn close to the skin, the sacred traditions are pushed around.
Inspirations “sans contrefaçon”- In the beginning, a childhood memory. That of a perfume-symbol. The Male in his father’s bathroom. A bottle with the body of a naked man, a metallic can, a frosted glass marinière transformed into a silhouette with a silver metallic skirt. A bottle of Le Male as a heel on a platform boot.
Gaultier has always been about pushing every one of us—as he constantly managed to get under the skin of all of those who might be resistant to change. His iconic design for the bottle of ‘Le Male,’ for example, was a very clever way of moving the conversation forward. When I was just a teen, that design really had an impact on me, helping me understand a bit about my own make-up. Today, I want to build upon Gaultier’s foundation and continue to push fashion and attitudes forward.” – Olivier Rousteing.
Signature jewelry and accessories - Inspired by perfume cans and the symbols of the punk movement cherished by the house, the jewelry and accessories give an added jolt to this couture collection. Metal chokers are pulled tight. Earrings are pinned to the lobe. The fingers of leather gloves evoke thimbles, a nod to Jean-Paul’s portrait of 1989 taken by Jean Baptiste Mondino.
Olivier Rousteing has been the creative director of Balmain for over a decade. During these ten years, Rousteing has built upon the legacy of the house’s founder, Pierre Balmain, celebrated for introducing a distinctly fresh, bold and feminine ‘New French Style’ to the world of post-war haute couture.
Born in 1985, and raised in Bordeaux, Olivier Rousteing studied fashion at the École Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode (ESMOD) in Paris. In 2011, when the 25-year-old Olivier Rousteing was chosen to lead the Balmain creative team, he became one of the youngest designers ever named to oversee a historic Parisian fashion house.