It’s the end of an era: legendary French couturier Jean-Paul Gaultier has taken his final bow on the runway with his Spring 2020 haute couture show.

The designer’s swan song took place at the Théatre du Châtelet on January 22, almost a week after he had announced his retirement from the runway. The venue is a famed theatre and opera house in Paris — fitting for a designer who had spent the last 50 years as fashion’s greatest showman. He certainly pulled out all the stops for his hour-long couture show at Paris Fashion Week, which was an unabashed celebration of his iconic designs, his model muses and fashion in general. Below, we list out the highlights from Jean-Paul Gaultier’s Spring 2020 haute couture show.

The show opened with a funeral 

Jean-Paul Gaultier loves to put on a show, and his theatrics were on full display on Wednesday evening. He kicked off his runway show with a funeral. Not a sombre one, mind you, but one with dancing pallbearers, a chic mourning crowd clad in Gaultier’s costumes and a jazzy Amy Winehouse tune in the background. Karlie Kloss took to the stage to open the coffin, revealing the show’s opening look: a puffy white babydoll dress.

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Gaultier’s famous friends were in attendance 

Models, designers and celebrities alike gathered to watch fashion’s enfant terrible bid adieu to the runway. On the front row were Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquière, French supermodel and former French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, as well as Czech-Italian supermodel Eva Herzigova, who wore a conical bra dress — a Jean-Paul Gaultier classic. English musician Mika also showed up with Christian Louboutin, who sported a cloud print suit from Louis Vuitton’s latest menswear collection.

The show featured Gaultier’s signature designs

The conical bras, the breton stripes, the avant-garde tailoring and the elaborate, extravagant gowns — all of Jean-Paul Gaultier’s greatest couture hits from the past half-century were on display at his last runway show. There were almost 200 looks in total, and they were split into mini-collections, each revolving around one of Gaultier’s sartorial obsessions. The show was both a treat for fans and a visual map of Gaultier’s unparalleled imagination.

 

Supermodels of past, present and future walked the show

Jean-Paul Gaultier also brought out his most star-studded runway cast yet: supermodels of the 1990s, 2000s and the 2010s all strutted down the stage in a string of surprise appearances. Irina Shayk, Karlie Kloss, Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid, Joan Smalls and Erin O’Connor are just some of the models who made up the stellar cast. Gaultier also sent his muse Dita Von Teese down the runway. His most famous muse, Madonna, was absent, but in her stead was her daughter Paris Jackson, who made her runway debut at the show.

 

Coco Rocha danced her way down the runway

A Gaultier show is never a boring affair. Models at the S/S20 show sang, danced and performed for the crowd, so the show never really felt like the final goodbye from one of fashion’s greatest couturiers. Instead, it was a joyful ode to the designer’s achievements — and that energy was especially present as Coco Rocha performed an Irish dance down the runway.

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Boy George performed for the show’s finale

To top things off, British musician Boy George gave a rousing performance on stage for the runway finale, where over a hundred models were gathered in celebration. Gaultier himself was also in high spirits, clapping and singing along with the crowd before being lifted up for one last hurrah. Talk about a heartwarming ending.

Pameyla Cambe
Senior Writer
Pameyla Cambe is a fashion and jewellery writer who believes that style and substance shouldn't be mutually exclusive. She makes sense of the world through Gothic novels, horror films and music. Lots of music.