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27 Mar

EXCLUSIVE: Julien Dossena Is Embracing ‘Freedom’ at Jean Paul Gaultier

“A succession of wows, constant astonishment” is how Julien Dossena described the hours spent trawling through the Jean Paul Gaultier archive in preparation for his role as guest couturier at the home next July.

“It brought back memories, it brought back sensations,” said the designer, who first learned in regards to the “enfant terrible” of Paris fashion as a toddler growing up in Brittany, having stumbled across a television program about Gauliter.

“When you’re touching all those pieces, you’ll be able to try to grasp the considering that allowed him to reach at that exact reference, mixed with one other reference that makes it unique and at the identical time super French, mixed with that cool, Nineteen Nineties grunge feeling — yet realized with essentially the most exquisite techniques and embroideries,” he marveled. “You realize that’s what makes him one in every of the best couturiers and designers of his time.”

Suffice it to say that Dossena is approaching this extracurricular project with gusto, reverence — and the identical meticulous approach he has plied at Paco Rabanne, where he has been creative director since 2013.

In an exclusive interview on the Jean Paul Gaultier couture salon last week, Dossena said he plans to absorb a broad sweep of the designer’s long fashion profession, striving to make his one-off couture collection for fall 2023 as wealthy and “generous” as Gaultier’s legacy.

He cited a selected fascination with the ’90s, a fecund decade for indie fashion designers in Paris, and affection for Gaultier’s controversial “Chic Rabbis” collection exalting the fantastic thing about Orthodox Jewish apparel, and his “Russian Constructivist” effort for fall 1986.

“He worked on so many things that I feel connected to, so I actually needed to undergo an editing process in my brain,” he said. “But I also desired to embrace that free way of working that he has.”

The designer said his other challenge can be to embrace the precision and occasional flamboyance of couture techniques without “losing the cool of it — the easiness and effortlessness that I feel is basically evocative of Gaultier’s work.”

He hinted that his runway show during Paris Couture Week, which runs from July 3 to six, would approximate the intimacy of Gaultier’s earliest shows within the Galerie Vivienne, when the garments nearly brushed the knees of the spectators lining that narrow covered shopping passage.

Dossena noted that Gaultier has figured prominently throughout his fashion profession, with that initial discovery of the designer on television opening his eyes to the opportunity of such a job, and an outlet for his sketching proclivities.

He became a fan as a high-school student into trance music, tracking down a pair of raw denim Gaultier jeans and a mesh shirt in a “tribal” print for clubbing.

Once he became a fashion student at La Cambre in Brussels, Dossena religiously tracked Gaultier’s latest collections on Style.com. “He became a figure I used to be at all times taking a look at due to his curiosity and research,” said Dossena, wearing a black T-shirt and loose trousers.

His first design job out of faculty, from 2008 to 2012, was within the Balenciaga studio in Paris, where he worked closely with its then-creative director Nicolas Ghesquière, himself an alum of Jean Paul Gaultier.

Dossena said he detected in Ghesquière the same zeal for newness via a “constant exploration” of what’s possible in fashion.

“Let’s say the very best quality for a designer is to at all times put yourself at risk for the sake of curiosity and excitement,” he said, lauding the liberty, variety and sense of playfulness inherent in Gaultier’s best work.

“Gaultier has a very strong style — you’ll be able to tell immediately when it’s a Gaultier,” he enthused. “And at the identical time, there’s that never-ending research and curiosity on different themes or techniques — it may very well be historic or super modern and technological; it may very well be pop or noble with a tremendous cut.”

Consequently, Dossena said he was “genuinely excited” when he was invited to change into the fifth guest couturier at Jean Paul Gaultier, following Haider Ackermann, Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing, Glenn Martens of Y/Project and Diesel, and Chitose Abe of Sacai. “In fact, I’m taking it really seriously because I like his work and his personality a lot.”

Following his retirement from the runway in 2020, Gaultier got here up with the concept of the couture house inviting different designers to interpret his vast and eclectic oeuvre, achieved over a profession spanning 50 years. It’s quickly change into a highlight of couture week — and fueled interest in Gaultier’s contributions to the style and popular culture.

WWD broke the news on March 2 that Gaultier’s next invitee was being recruited from throughout the Puig fashion family: Each Paco Rabanne and Jean Paul Gaultier are owned by the Spanish fashion and fragrance group.

“Julien has a selected sense of reinterpretation, and I’m curious to see how he’ll play with my codes,” Gaultier told WWD. “Paco Rabanne’s heritage is amazingly wealthy, and Julien knows how you can make this strength resonate in his collections.”

Dossena continues to be within the early stages of realizing the Jean Paul Gaultier couture collection, and focused largely on developing fabrics, launching embroideries and testing some initial shape ideas.

But he was already marveling on the capabilities of the couture atelier “with amazing hands and a team that may go really far in explorations of what’s possible. It’s such as you’re driving a Rolls-Royce,” he said.

Asked if he might include some designs for men, as previous guest couturiers have, Dossena noted that he likely would as Gaultier “mainly invented that gender-fluid thing that we’re talking about, without even theorizing it. For him, it was a playfulness and freedom of expression he wanted to specific genuinely.

“In his casting, in his teams, he was at all times giving people a probability to specific their uniqueness — and people questions are really on the core of our reflection at once in fashion,” he added.

He marveled that Gaultier didn’t treat his couture creations as precious objects, often recycling couture dresses into different designs — so a gown might change into a dress, and later a skirt and a bra.

“In a brilliant nice way, I used to be surprised and amazed that nothing was sacred. A chunk may very well be reworked and reworked and repurposed otherwise simply because he desired to update it or improve it,” he said. “I really need to seek out that balance, that tension between that preciousness and that exquisite attention which you could put right into a couture garment, and at the identical time to propose something that feels now.”

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