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Jean Paul Gaultier on Inviting Haider Ackermann as Guest-Creator: “We Instantly Recognize His Signature”

Jean Paul Gaultier continues to surprise and disrupt fashion with his guest-creator concept. His latest designer invite to the couture calendar is Haider Ackermann.

Haider Ackermann with Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier declares that once the concept of inviting a designer to collaborate with his eponymous brand came to be, he immediately thought of Haider Ackermann. After inviting Chitose Abe of Sacai, Glenn Martens of Y/ Project, and Olivier Rousteing of Balmain, the baton was passed to the French-Colombian designer. “I was curious to see what his style could bring to my universe and my codes,” Gaultier says, offering his reasoning for wanting to join forces. “Since his first collection, I thought that Haider had a very personal style, already full of maturity and mastery. We instantly recognize his signature.”

Rings, Francesca Amfitheatrof. Photo: Sabine Villiard

Photo: Sabine Villiard

Gaultier is referring to Ackermann’s tailoring, which he has practically transformed into an art form. So well in fact that he even had a stint as designer of Berluti, the LVMH stalwart of luxury tailoring. “He perfectly masters the cut of jackets and pants along with his subtle sense of colors. All this was confirmed at the show,” affirms Gaultier. The collection came in elevated swaths of blues, blacks, whites, purples, and pinks on models who glided across the runway like swans. From “the meticulous hours and endless threads,” as Ackermann wrote on social media a week before his show, came haute joggers peppered with what looked like pins. There were elongated dresses and suits that expressed more by waving the many accouterments that couture can often entail. To a front row, which included Catherine Deneuve and Daphne Guinness, Ackermann revealed a collection that focused on purity of lines – a straightforward homage to the work of Gaultier. If Ackermann showed he knew how to cut an haute cloth, this show was in fact his first go at a couture showcase. He expressed his honor, surprise, and above all excitement to have access to an atelier of petites mains bringing his ideas to life.

Photo: Sabine Villiard

Ackermann, who studied fashion design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, was originally inspired by the work of Yves Saint Laurent. He interned for John Galliano and launched his eponymous label in 2001, presenting at Paris Fashion Week. In the years that followed, he was often photographed alongside actress Tilda Swinton and model Farida Khelfa, two women he dressed and who share a lithe, androgynous air that favors his sharp tailoring. He also became a beloved designer to actor Timothée Chalamet. Notably, he dressed the actor for the Met Ball in a black-and-white jacket, mixing the tuxedo codes with white jogging pants. Recently, he dressed the Luca Guadagnino protégé for the red carpet in a backless red jumpsuit, causing a furor on social media.

Photo: Sabine Villiard

Photo: Sabine Villiard

Along with fashion and his close friendships, Ackermann has a passion for bringing attention to injustice, often focusing on women’s rights in the Middle East. In December 2021, the designer collaborated with Chalamet on a hoodie with all proceeds donated to French organization Afghanistan Libre, dedicated to preserving women’s rights in Afghanistan. At his recent couture show, the music included the song Baraye by the Iranian artist Shervin Hajipour, recounting the murder of Mahsa Amini and the ongoing battle for women’s rights in Iran. Gaultier, of course, has always been attuned to global happenings, most notably taking part in the fight against the Aids pandemic. He’s also promoted diversity since long before it became a keyword.

Bracelet, Francesca Amfitheatrof. Photo: Sabine Villiard

Gaultier mentions that he shared with Ackermann which of the 36 looks appealed to him the most. “During one of his shows, I took note of the work on his bomber jackets, which is one of my iconic pieces. He had worked it in a way that I never had; he elongated the zip to make it a wing, which he also did for this collection, but with a double zip. Truly beautiful and impressive,” Gaultier exclaims. The world waits for Gaultier to reveal which designer he will invite next. In the meantime, the concept shows no sign of fading enthusiasm from the scores of fans both at the shows and around the world.

Photo: Sabine Villiard

Originally published in the March 2023 issue of Vogue Arabia

Style: Amine Jreissati
Hair: Sadek Lardjane
Makeup: Loriane Leger
Jewelry: Francesca Amfitheatrof

Photography assistants: Hélène Bozzi, Philippe Milliat
Style assistant: Style Aurélien, Storny Aléna Ballet
Producer: Danica Zivkovic
Model: Renata Scheffer at the Claw

 Read Next: Farida Khelfa in Conversation with Jean Paul Gaultier on Life, Fashion, and the Future

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