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Retrospectives: great moments in Parisian fashion history, with YSL, McQueen, Galliano, Gaultier


August 6, 2014/14.05

What are some of the great fashion moments in recent history? You’ll have seen these videos run on Lucire TV, and we’ve singled them out for an additional focus. In French and English.

1. The departure of Yves Saint Laurent
In January 2001, Yves Saint Laurent retired from the house that bears his name, with the brand’s final haute couture show and retrospective at the Hotel Inter-continental in Paris. Two thousand people were invited to the Centre Pompidou to see Saint Laurent’s 300 greatest classics, and models included Claudia Schiffer, Carla Bruni, Jerry Hall, and Naomi Campbell. In the finalé, 40 tuxedos paraded to a song performed by Laetitia Casta. Catherine Deneuve, a long-time friend of the designer, was in tears. Saint Laurent died in 2008.
   Saint Laurent says, ‘I tried to prove that Paris was still the city of light and of haute couture, and haute couture made like this was necessary for people’s imaginations. I like seeing my models evolve and seeing how the public react and actually in that moment I feel really close to the public. I still get nervous in this profession. I’m still not used to it after 42 years. I’ve tried again to perfect this style that has now become really important in fashion, this style that I created and to which I remain loyal, as fashions pass but style stays. It’s a part of me, it’s my life. I wouldn’t know what to do; I wouldn’t be able to live if I didn’t make dresses.’

2. The shows of Alexander McQueen
Lee Alexander McQueen was known for his extravagant shows, and had come to most people’s attention after he succeeded John Galliano at Givenchy in 1996. He was later hired by the Gucci Group, joining the group in 2000. Gucci had bought a controlling stake in McQueen’s own label. An extraordinary creator, McQueen was depressed after the death of his mother, and committed suicide in 2010. The video looks at some of his greatest hits.
   Said McQueen: ‘After I left college I went to Paris to look for work, like every student does, and I went to see Martin but he couldn’t afford to pay me, and then I went to Gaultier and then there was some nasty queen on the front door to Gaultier. And I thought f*** this. I was supposed to be there for five days I was back in five hours, because there was no one else I wanted to work for apart from Margiela and Gaultier …
   ‘I call myself very schizophrenic; I have so many different, you know, personalities.’
   Katy England notes in the video below, ‘He’s just got a very clever mind, and he doesn’t follow fashion, he’s not that interested in the trends. He just suddenly thinks of something that’s really really imaginative, he might be inspired by art or … he just has a very strange vision of things which suddenly comes to life. He’ll explain an image and you’ll think wow, that’s very very strong, and that will then in turn inspire a collection. I’ve never met someone else who thinks of these things, it’s just exciting really.’

3. John Galliano at Christian Dior, haute couture spring–summer 2002
One of John Galliano’s most controversial haute couture collections was for spring–summer 2002, where he showed one inspired by the homeless, paying tribute to the ‘ingenuity shown by the underprivileged in the way they dress,’ with unstitched dresses, jacket arms held on by pegs, the layering of trousers and torn effects. Galliano said, ‘There’s the new cut but it’s also to show the work, the delicacy of the Dior atelier’s work, and also to show that this house is a laboratory of ideas where you can thrive off the rest of the house, the ready-to-wear fashion, the collection and the accessories … that’s why I’m there, to inspire the house. I cut it up a bit, a little bit crazily and expressively … They took the dress upstairs and they made the whole patronage and everything and they came back down with the same expressive cutting which blew me away, me and Stephen [Jones] couldn’t tell the difference.’

4. Madonna models for Jean Paul Gaultier
Madonna, who had been friends with Jean Paul Gaultier since 1989 when he made the costumes for her Blonde Ambition tour, went to Paris in September 1994 to model the designer’s spring–summer 1995 collection. The show was memorable for both Madonna and Gaultier, for a body corset with a conical bra.
   Looking back, Gaultier says, ‘That exact date in 1989. I knew her from that, professionally because I made the costumes for the Blonde Ambition tour, so that was really fun, it was one of my most beautiful experiences I have to say. An then obviously she modelled for me. First, she modelled in a charity show in LA in support of Aids, and the second time she modelled, you recorded her, at the Musée des Arts Forains, that must have been around ’96. There you go!
   Marie-Christiane Marek summarizes the influence: ‘Madonna produced a visual shock, leaving a mark on her era and captivating a fascinated public from the end of the ’80s. She presented corseted silhouettes with conical bras, or more Jean Paul Gaultier men’s suits. Madonna, therefore, embodied the Parisian designer’s success, heralding a new feminine era with a stamp of sex appeal.’

Le départ d’Yves Saint Laurent (version française)

The departure of Yves Saint Laurent (English dub)

The shows of Alexander McQueen

John Galliano at Christian Dior, haute couture spring–summer 2002

Madonna défile chez Jean-Paul Gaultier (version française)

Madonna models for Jean Paul Gaultier (English dub)

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Filed by Lucire staff

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