The fashion world’s ongoing obsession with the 90s shows no signs of slowing down, if this season’s hottest new collaboration between Jimmy Choo and Jean Paul Gaultier is anything to go by. The two brands have come together for the first time ever, creating a footwear collection that celebrates London’s rebellious spirit and the insouciant cool of Parisians. Delving into the archives, the two renowned fashion houses have reimagined some of their most instantly recognisable codes in a capsule collection, fronted by one of the 90s’ most iconic stars: Kylie Minogue.
The teaming up of Jimmy Choo and Jean Paul Gaultier is a match made in heaven, with Choo’s creative director Sandra Choi admitting that the French couturier has long been a source of inspiration for her. “Jean Paul Gaultier is an icon – as a man, and as a brand,” she says of the fashion collaboration. “I have adored his work for as long as I can remember, and he has inspired me my entire life in fashion. I was honoured and incredibly excited to be able to reinterpret his legacy.” Florence Tétier, creative director of Jean Paul Gaultier, agrees. “I thought it was a great match, because for me, Jimmy Choo is like the Gaultier of shoes – craft, meets rebellion.”
That rebellious nature is certainly on full display in the collection, which features spike-heeled stilettos, perspex wedge heels and printed denim. One of the highlights is a pair of over-the-knee boots embellished with a tattoo print, which calls to mind Gaultier’s controversial Les Tatouages collection from Spring/Summer 1994. The iconic collection paid ode to the transformative power of body art and was inspired by a visit he made to a tattoo convention in the UK. Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington paraded down the runway in sheer tops covered in printed tattoos, and the designs became a staple of club culture fashion throughout the hedonistic 90s.
There are other nods to the decade’s fashion favourites in the fold-over denim boots, which are reminiscent of the wide-legged jeans that were so ubiquitous throughout the 90s. Another stand-out design comes in the form of the plexiglass wedge heels – in a tongue-in-cheek nod to Jimmy Choo and Jean Paul Gaultier’s home cities, one heel is laser-etched with an image of Big Ben, the other with the Eiffel Tower. In a further touch of Gaultier wit, the back of the wedge has been carved away, as if tracing the ghostly outline of a stiletto heel, making it seem as if the wearer is walking on air.
When it came to choosing a face to front the campaign, both Choi and Tétier only had one name in mind: Kylie Minogue. The iconic pop star rose to meteoric fame in the 90s and remains as relevant today as she was in her original heyday. Minogue has a long history with both brands. Choi has been creating custom shoes for the pop star for over 30 years, and Minogue has worn countless made-to-measure Jean Paul Gaultier looks on stage, most notably in 2008, when Gaultier created a range of pieces for her tour wardrobe.
Styled by her long-term friend Katie Grand and shot by French photographer and filmmaker Valentin Herfay, Minogue appears in the images wearing an array of archival Gaultier favourites, from a white hooded top reminiscent of the jumpsuit she wore in the Can’t Get You Out of My Head music video to Gaultier’s signature sailor cap. “When I think about design references and aesthetics, both our brands celebrate the strong female form framed through pop culture, a shared ideology that really stands out. Kylie is the embodiment of that,’’ says Tétier.
“Fashion for me has always been about collaboration with like-minded creatives, and pure personal self-expression,” says Minogue of the collaboration. “Jean Paul Gaultier and Jimmy Choo have both been part of my fashion journey, and I’m thrilled to work with both of them to celebrate this exceptional collection. It’s our collective histories fusing, to create something fresh and new.”
The Jimmy Choo x Jean Paul Gaultier collection is out now