Swarovski’s brilliant partnership with Jean Paul Gaultier dates back to their first runway collaboration together in 1997. Ever since, the brand’s longstanding relationship with the original enfant terrible of Paris fashion has pushed the boundaries of crystal creativity, reflecting Gaultier’s sparkling imagination and limitless creativity.
Challenging conventions and creating truly daring design is in JPG’s DNA. It’s something reflected both in his crystal-covered runway collections and the ‘Kaputt’ crystal cut that he created with Swarovski in 2015, which embodies his belief in ‘imperfect’ beauty. And that same year, Swarovski supported a retrospective of the designer’s work curated by Thierry Maxime Loriot and shown at the Grand Palais in Paris and the Kunsthalle in Munich.
It was that ‘perfectly imperfect’ crystal which appeared in his first jewelry collaboration with Atelier Swarovski, the ‘Reverse’ collection for Spring/Summer 2016. The creative evolution of Gaultier’s ‘Kaputt’ cut was also captured in The Soul of Swarovski – a short film by Oscar-nominated filmmaker and photographer Eric Valli – which took a peek behind the curtain, as Gaultier explored the brand’s archives and R&D workshops at its Austrian headquarters. “Swarovski is like a big family,” explains Gaultier. “There is a spirit of communion. Things that sound impossible are never impossible here. At Swarovski, everything is possible.”
To celebrate that shared legacy, as the brand marked the start of its 125th anniversary, Swarovski collaborated with Gaultier on his 50th anniversary show and his final runway bow. Revisiting the anarchic themes of his early collections, the fashion legend’s haute couture creations featured over 700,000 glittering Swarovski crystals, which left his audience at the Théâtre du Châtelet spellbound. Eighteen key looks shimmered down the runway on iconic Gaultier muses including Joan Smalls, Dita Von Teese, Erin O’Connor, Yasmin Le Bon, Rossy de Palma and Amanda Lear.
Jean Paul Gaultier’s grand au revoir embodied his trademark theatrical flair and boundless energy and charm. His is an incredible influence, which will be felt for generations to come, and Swarovski has been proud to add an extra soupçon of sparkle.