May 24, 2021: This past Saturday, Jean Paul Gaultier shared a peculiar post on Instagram: the words “The End” in bold font on a white background with the luxury brand’s logo underneath. Devoted fans of the label rushed to the comments section in a frenzy, trying to decipher the meaning behind the cryptic message. Many thought this was an announcement signifying the end of the brand entirely. After all, in January 2020, the French designer announced his forthcoming retirement at his 50th-Anniversary Couture Show, shocking fashion fans who couldn’t imagine a world without him.
But not long after sharing that initial Instagram post, the designer quelled fans’ fears with the news of upcoming collaborations, the first being with Chitose Abe of the Japanese luxury fashion brand Sacai. Taking to Twitter, he told his followers: “Each season, I will invite a designer to interpret the codes of the House and I am doubly pleased that Chitose Abe of @sacaiofficial will be the first one!” This collection will debut this July during Paris Haute Couture Week.
A day after the brand shared that enigmatic Instagram post that rocked the fashion industry, Gaultier’s Instagram account posted a GIF teasing the label’s future collaborations, including Dr. Woo, Ottolinger, SSENSE, Palomo Spain, and Pierre Hardy among others. An IG story with a “ready-to-wear rebirth” countdown accompanied the post (it stopped RTW in 2014). As much as it seems like the brand was closing up shop, it’s quite literally doing the opposite. The brand also updated its bio to read, “Welcome to the new era of Jean Paul Gaultier.”
We should have guessed right away this wouldn’t be the end for Jean Paul Gaultier—the talented designer loves to make a dramatic announcement. And although this publicity stunt had us speechless, we’re thrilled not to have to say goodbye just yet. More to come as the story develops.