Jean Paul Gaultier couture: sentimental design through Glenn Martens' vision
When fashion brings you to tears (and a small personal announcement)
This morning the tension on Fashion Twitter anxiously awaiting photos of the Jean Paul Gaultier show to publish on Vogue Runway was intense. Emotion tends to slow down our brains ability to process information rationally, clouding logic and transporting us into fantasy. I suspect the delay was caused by the emotions editors, photographers and site designers were experiencing after watching this collection slink down the runway.
Out of the 100s of 2022 SS + FW shows I’ve seen, only two have brought me to tears, Simone Rocha SS22 (for obvious reasons if you know me at all) and this masterpiece Jean Paul Gaultier couture collection designed by Y/Project Creative Director, Glenn Martens.
What makes this show so special is understanding the relationship between JPG + Glenn Martens. Fifteen years ago Martens’ first fashion job was at Jean Paul Gaultier, he then went on to build a fashion empire of his own; this collaboration feels full-circle and genuinely sentimental. It’s not often raw emotion can be felt through blurry Twitter photos snapped from a front-row attendee’s iPhone, but these aren’t just clothes they are works of art. I highly suggest watching this show as well, the movement of these garments is part of the magic.
References + Review
Over the last few years, this overarching theme of designers referencing their previous work has arguably been the biggest + most consistent trend we’ve seen on the runway (more on that here here.) Martens’ reinterpretation of JPGs former work feels fresh, relevant, respectful and maintains both designers visions. Personally I loathe when designers collab for the sake of combining their logos together and plastering it on all their hero pieces, it feels super lazy. Sure, it’s going to fly off the shelf, but always leaves me wondering that’s it? This work is clearly a collaboration built on real, honest design and the work speaks for itself, it’s stunning.
Gaultier’s corsetry work over the decades is so exquisite, they’ve landed in museums around the world. Madonna’s bullet bra corset is a fan favorite, and one of the most recognizable garments in the world. Martens take on the corset is what made my eyes well with tears. It’s simply divine. The ability to capture JPGs sensibilities and marry them with his Y/Project flair makes for some truly sentimental garments. They also seem to be the crowd favorites, for obvious reasons. Likewise with cloud-like draping. No matter what, draping with delicate fabrics like mesh and tulle tugs at my heart strings like no other. The below late 90s reference look doesn’t look the least bit dated, I could easily see a bombshell like Barbie Fererria wear it to a red carpet event, or Harry Styles in an editorial shoot. What’s fascinating is JPG + Martens’ work typically read super futuristic, however these garments look like they could be from any era; the 1991, 2022, 2040, and beyond.
Last seasons fashion week felt extremely commercial, and somewhat lackluster. Couture week has made me wildly optimistic we’re in for a gorgeous, exciting season. Hopefully more shows bring me to tears. Crying over fashion feels good, and before you say anything, folks cry witnessing works of art at The Met + Louvre everyday; why should a runway show be any different? Let me know your thoughts about this divine masterpiece.
During the middle of writing this newsletter, I discovered my Tiktok has been verified, which made me cry for a totally different reason. It’s a silly little blue check, and I was on the fence about applying in the first place because I know it’s completely arbitrary but damn, I’ve been working my fucking ass off over the last year building authority as a credible, trustworthy analyst + writer. Turning down every fast fashion brand deal that landed in my inbox despite knowing if I swallowed my pride and followed the money, I’d be able to quit my full time job to do Tiktok + freelance full time, which is ultimately my goal. Sacrificing many nights to write, or research, or film, or study. Learning how to cope with cruel hate comments attacking my looks or worse, my intelligence + abilities (therapy helped.) Anyway, it’s all been so fucking worth it, and it was worth it way before the the blue check. It just feels nice to be recognized. This is my passion and being able to share it with you has been the greatest honor and joy of my entire life. I wouldn’t be here without your support, your curiosity that rivals my own. You’ve motivated me and pushed me to learn more + refine my craft. I love this community, and I’m endlessly grateful for YOU.
Thank you for reading this special edition of Cyclical. If you enjoyed, please drop your thoughts in the comments and subscribe. I have a $6/month paid option and free option, both support my content and I’m so grateful you’re here <3 Mandy