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Jean Paul Gaultier to Stop RTW
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Jean Paul Gaultier to Stop RTW
By Miles Socha
September 15, 2014


Jean Paul Gaultier
Photo By Dominique Maître



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 several 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.

In 2004, Gaultier let go 31 workers in a bid to save its money-losing couture business and lift the house out of the red following heavy investments in a new 50,000-square-foot building on the Rue Saint Martin with a swanky Philippe Starck decor.

It is understood Gaultier’s high-fashion business operates near breakeven today.

Market sources estimate the company generates consolidated revenues of about 30 million euros, or $38.9 million at current exchange rates, with royalties from licensed products — rtw, fragrances, watches, eyewear and beachwear — generating about half that sum. Besides couture, leather goods and accessories are also produced in house.

Fragrances — headlined by the women’s Classique scent and Le Mâle for men — remain the biggest and most successful part of the business, and were a key attraction for Puig.

Come mid-2016, the Spanish company will get its hands on Gaultier’s lucrative fragrance license, currently held by Beauté Prestige International, a subsidiary of Japan’s Shiseido. Sources estimate that fragrances represent more than 80 percent of the Gaultier business, if one considers the wholesale value of all products.


One of France’s most iconic designers, Gaultier started his company in 1976, and catapulted the French capital’s reputation for fashion in the Eighties alongside fellow fashion mavericks Claude Montana and Thierry Mugler.

Gaultier establishing his beauty business in 1991, joined the couture calendar in 1997 and launched an accessories division in 2000.

Among recent collaborations, last week the designer flew to Gothenburg, Sweden, to stage a fashion show for the one-off line he designed for Scandinavian fashion chain Lindex, celebrating its 60th anniversary.

Gaultier also continues to create stage costumes for musicians including the likes of Kylie Minogue, soon embarking a new tour, as well as Mylène Farmer and Conchita Wurst, an Austrian drag performer who won the last Eurovision Song Contest, and wore the bride’s outfit at Gaultier’s most recent couture show.
wwd.com

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I have to say it's not a shock. I cannot remember seeing Gaultier RTW for sale anywhere, online or in stores. However, is his couture really that profitable? I'm assuming he's going to be surviving off perfume sales at this point.

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It's not a shock to me, I almost expected it, but I can't imagine that his haute couture generates enough money. Maybe he's continuing haute couture because it's also a important exposure factor for brands and through the exposure selling the profitable perfumes etc.

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His RTW collections have been such a shadow of its former glory for some time now, so I am glad that he is letting it go rather than continue on floundering. If the lack of spark in those collections was a matter of his heart not being into it rather than his inspirations running dry, than all the better for him to stop now and put all his energy into something that really sets his muses on fire. And I can't imagine being inspired much when the collection isn't making a profit, so there's that.

One of fashion's best and brightest, none of the younger generation-- and particularly not any of these overhyped young designers (New Guard my hiney!), can come anywhere close to him. And in his prime, he was simply untouchable.

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i agree phuel....his p-a-p collections are not making the impact they once did so it doesn't really surprise me. and to be honest i like that he's ending it rather than handing reigns over to another just to see it become another trickled down commerce machine like so many icons before him.

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after these last few collection and campaigns this news is a relief

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Quote:
It is understood Gaultier’s high-fashion business operates near breakeven today.
Actually the article alone suggests that he cannot profit from his HC collections so I guess he is going to rely on perfumes. It is actually quite sad because in three to five years Jean Paul Gaultier will probably file for bankruptcy and completely disappear like many before him.

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We won't be missing out on anything

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He should just pull an Ann, and retire gracefully while he still can.

I think he is capable of doing great RTW and HC that'll actually sell, but not both anymore. He can have one, but not the other. So I'll keep my fingers crossed that his upcoming HC creations will show a great improvement in the upcoming seasons.

But, hey, kudos to him for lasting this long. Besides the big, grand houses that have been around forever and a day(Chanel, Dior..), who else that showed in the late 70s is still around? He's outlasted Mugler, Montana, Lacroix...um, who else?

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"We"...? You may not like his designs, or even appreciate his contributions, but have you seen what an impact this man has made in fashion? I don't mean just the designs, but his shows, campaigns and castings have all broken down barriers in fashion. His more eccentric and controversial-- and even tacky designs aside, the man knows how to cut like no other when it matters. Even if his fashion may not be to your liking, there's no denying how influential he was to fashion.

Kind of dismissive to say "we" won't be missing much-- but I suppose that was your point.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by eugenius View Post
But, hey, kudos to him for lasting this long. Besides the big, grand houses that have been around forever and a day(Chanel, Dior..), who else that showed in the late 70s is still around? He's outlasted Mugler, Montana, Lacroix...um, who else?
Rei and Yohji are still making waves. Yohji may be spotty from time to time, but he's still someone with an influence. And Rei's in a stratosphere of her own and her waves are tidal even now and she's not showing any signs of slowing down. And I suppose ol' Viv is still hanging in there-- if only by name since her fire's been out for some time now.

With the likes of even Helmut, Jil and Ann (and Galliano) having left, it really was only a matter of time before Gaultier left.

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Wise decision.

I'm not surprised either considering he makes more money with couture than he does with his rtw products. He's an icon, but who on earth wears Gaultier?

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I'm glad he made the decision, it would be a shame to see his brand go the Galliano or McQueen route.

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Not surprising at all. He's an incredible designer that has created some of the most amazing and influential collections, but he has not been able to produce on that level in awhile. His brand may still be known but he has a very hard time moving forward and not regurgitating what made him world renown. It was sad to see a master basically run out of ideas.

It is a commendable achievement that he is still working, but this is a decision much delayed. His fragrance sales should cushion his couture efforts, if that's even worth pursuing.

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Gaultier's RTW had become sad and depressing. This seems like a relief.

I've heard the couture does a business. I guess it's better to remain a couture house and pay for it out of the fragrance's marketing budget than to languish as a subpar fashion label. Puig has no interest in running a clothing business, they just want the fragrance. They'll close the couture as soon as Gaultier totally retires.

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