Friday, July 8, 2011

Gaultier's Chassidim

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On Shabbos afternoon I was flipping through June's Vogue. There was a page of four of Jean-Paul Gaultier's favorite collections.

Number 3 was his Fall 1993 looks, entitled Les Rabbins Chic. It was in '93, so I didn't remember it from then. Gaultier says as follows:

I was walking past the Public Library on Fifth Avenue in New York when I saw a group of Hasidic men, and I was so impressed by the quiet elegance of their clothes; how wonderful it is to be proud of who you are and where you come from! While I was designing this collection, I read a lot about Jewish culture; truly it was a real homage. I showed it in the Galerie Vivienne, with Jewish music played live. It's one of the collections I'm most proud of. 

The caption on the photo reads "His playfully respectful take on Hasidic dress, September 1993."

It's one of the collections he is most proud of? Who would've thunk it? He took what he perceived as personal pride and created a collection hoping to reflect that. While I do not come from Chassidishe family (although I have a little Belz and Satmar blood through female lines) but I'm actually a little touched that a French  designer of Haute Couture can look back on a Chassidishe-inspired collection done nearly twenty years ago and think of it as his favorite.

Gaultier is definitely not a typical designer; his creations can range from the wearable to wacky. I have yet to find one of his pieces on sale that flatters me, but hope springs eternal.

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