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sacai's Chitose Abe to design Jean Paul Gaultier's next Couture collection

The guest designer trend continues

sacai's Chitose Abe to design Jean Paul Gaultier's next Couture collection The guest designer trend continues

In the beginning, it was Dries Van Noten, who for his SS20 collection invited the legendary Christian Lacroix as a guest designer. Miuccia Prada went on to invite Raf Simons to work in the family business followed by Ermenegildo Zegna which presented its collaborative collection with Fear of God.

And now it is Jean-Paul Gaultier, recently retired from the catwalks, who invites Chitose Abe of sacai to design the next Couture collection that we will see in the summer if the coronavirus allows it. But the news does not stop there because Abe will not be a resident of Gaultier's house, but rather the first of a series of external designers that from season to season, in the words of Jean-Paul Gaultier himself, will "interpret the codes of the house and give the vision of the haute couture."

This news suggests that we will soon see other brands hire famous guest designers, a trend that Raf Simons himself had hoped for four years ago in an interview with Miuccia Prada for System Magazine:

Maybe fashion should operate more like a museum, where you have a museum curator, but you have guest curators come in, too. I think that the fashion business has recently stopped exploring its own possibilities; it should become much more liberated once again. [...] But it is up to the big voices to make that kind of decision themselves, because fashion is not a system that sits around wanting that. If Miuccia or Marc Jacobs say, ‘I am going to let this person do my brand for a season, and then I am going there for a season’, then others will follow. But it won’t happen until then”.

The idea for the initiative, however, according to what Gaultier himself said to WWD, comes from what happened to a French fashion house which found itself without its designer in the 80s that Gaultier did not want to identify. It's likely that the reference is to the brand Jean Patou, which interrupted the couture in the late 80s and closed in the mid-90s and was then resurrected by the LVMH group a few years ago. Abe's entry into Gaultier for the next haute couture collection could be the start of a new phase for the brand, which opens outwards, following Moncler's example with its Genius Project, and could become a springboard for younger and brighter designers over the years.