Balmain’s creative director said the one-off effort for fall 2022, to be unveiled during couture week in Paris next July, will be a chance to pay homage to a maverick designer, fashion innovator and a pioneering proponent of inclusivity who championed gay rights and brought attention to many subcultures.
Glenn Martens, of Y/Project and Diesel, and Chitose Abe of Sacai were the fist designers invited to guest design a Gaultier couture collection following the founder’s retirement from the runway in 2020. He had the idea to invite a rotating cast to interpret his oeuvre.
Rousteing described it as an “honor” to be able to interpret the work of one of the most iconic French designers of the last 50 years.
“I think he brought so much into the fashion world and the fashion industry,” Rousteing enthused in an interview. “What I love about his aesthetic is all the incredible work on tailoring, on cuts, the craftsmanship, the savoir-faire, and the incredible glamour and sexiness he brought to the runway.”
He described the capabilities of the Gaultier ateliers as “endless” and is relishing the chance to learn about new techniques.
Rousteing said he owes a debt of gratitude for the sailor stripes, corsetry and strongly padded shoulders that he’s incorporated into his design vocabulary at Balmain, giving these his own spin.
He also applauded how Gaultier used fashion as an instrument of social change, and championed an open-minded vision of society in which everyone can assert his or own identity without fear of discrimination.
“People need to remember who has been the pioneer at the time, to fight for what we’re fighting today,” Rousteing said, noting that the collection would merge his vision with the aesthetic and vision established by the founder, using the vocabulary and know-how of the iconic couture house.
Rousteing, 36, was only a child when Gaultier became a fashion superstar, but he remember’s the iconic Madonna moments, the provocative fragrance advertising and bottles, and his theatrical runway shows.
“I think he helped many people from my generation to feel free to be who they wanted to be,” he said.