French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier to retire as fashion designer


The flamboyant creator Jean-Paul Gaultier said he would be bowing out on Wednesday with a big party to mark his 50 years in the business after his latest collection hits the catwalk.

His brand told AFP that his high-end fashion and perfume business would live on, but that Gaultier was stepping back from designing clothes himself. “Rest assured haute couture will continue with a new concept,” said the designer, who famously put Madonna in a conical bra. Gaultier dropped the bombshell in a typically jokey video message, shot as if he was giving an exclusive interview to a reporter over the phone.

Gaultier, 67, stopped designing ready-to-wear clothes in 2015 to concentrate on haute couture — handmade clothes which only the world’s richest women can afford. But as late as last year, he insisted that he had no intention of putting down his scissors — although he despaired of animal rights activists pressuring him to stop using furs.

A teenage prodigy, who rose to fame in the 1980s when the Paris fashion scene was at its most decadent, Jean-Paul Gaultier also carved out a parallel television career as the co-presenter of a cheeky series, “Eurotrash”. In 2018, he staged his own hit cabaret show based loosely on his life story called “Fashion Freak Show”, which opened at the Folie Bergere in Paris.

A spokeswoman for his brand told AFP that the designer would be back, but like the veteran Japanese creator Kenzo — who has moved into interior design — it would be in other areas.

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