Jean Paul Gaultier to Stop RTW
By Miles Socha
PARIS — Jean Paul Gaultier is to stop his women’s and men’s ready-to-wear collections and accessories, WWD has learned.
The designer, 62, is to devote himself to couture, the brand’s powerhouse perfume business and other projects.
His final women’s rtw collection is to be shown at the Grand Rex on Sept. 27 during Paris Fashion Week for the spring-summer 2015 season.
It is understood the shutdown is to affect a few dozen employees.
The development means the loss of a license for Italian manufacturer Gibò Co. SpA, which had taken over Gaultier’s women’s rtw in 2013, after having been his original partner in the Eighties.
News of the downsizing comes three years after Puig, the Spanish fragrance and fashion group, acquired a majority stake in the Gaultier house, and points to challenging times for mid-size players in an era of megabrands with global store networks.
It also suggests that despite the designer’s enduring popularity and cult following — underscored by attendance records for his roving retrospective exhibition — the fashion house has struggled to translate his madcap creativity into profits.
In a letter addressed to WWD, Gaultier explained that the decision was made in concert with Puig executives and after an “in-depth assessment” on the future of the house.
“We looked at various possibilities considering the present state of the company and we have reached the same conclusion,” he wrote. “For some time, I have found true fulfillment in working on the haute couture and it allows me to express my creativity and my taste for research and experimentation. At the same time the world of ready-to-wear has evolved considerably. Commercial constraints, as well as the frenetic pace of collections don’t leave any freedom, nor the necessary time to find fresh ideas and to innovate.
“After more than 38 years spent producing men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections, it seems to us that the time has come to stop some of our activities and to concentrate principally on the development of the haute couture, of perfumes and to certain collaborations that I have not yet had time to explore,” he added. “This is a new beginning, I will be able to express again my creativity fully and without constraints,” he added.