Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, inspired and inspiring designer

For more than 40 years, French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac has imposed his pop and colorful style. His fashion? Playful and inspired by his favorites. Back on a career that has not yet said its last word.

  Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, inspired and inspiring designer

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac was born on November 28, 1949, in Casablanca. Her father is a marquis, her mother, she comes from a bourgeois family. His parents gave him a strict upbringing. He spent his childhood in a military pension, before joining the Oratorians (French religious congregation) and the brothers of Betharram as a teenager. Gradually, his passion for historical figurines gives way to a love of fashion. He then begins to draw some sketches and decides to integrate the School of Fine Arts , then the Graduate School of Clothing Industries.

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac fall-winter 2002-2003 fashion show in Paris on March 12, 2002

When did Jean-Charles de Castelbajac get into fashion?

It wasn't until 1978 that young Jean-Charles de Castelbajac transformed his mother's clothing business, called Valmont, into Ko & Co ; his first line of women's ready-to-wear was born. The following year, he paraded pieces diverted from materials recovered here and there. In his shop, he offers creations by personalities unknown to the general public at the time, such as Kenzo and Chantal Thomas . In the 80s, he rose to the rank of multiple designer, combining his passion for fashion and art. He creates paintings-like dresses, which will later become his trademark. In 1988, he launched First , a perfume then followed by two other juices: JCC n° 2  then Blankie .

How does he incorporate art into his creations?

A great collector, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac does not hesitate to put art at the service of his fashion. Among the personalities who made the invitations to his fashion shows, we find Peter and Gilles , Cindy Sherman or even Keith Haring . On the catwalks, he parades clothes with various inspirations. He asks Loulou Picasso, Gérard Garouste or Miquel Barceló to make some of his painting-dresses. For his part, he is inspired by the work of Basquiat and Haring for his famous graffiti dresses. Now iconic, his models are seen around the world - like the sweater Shiva , so named because of its six handles, but also front-to-back pieces , like his suits buttoned in the back.

In 1993, he also designed two collections for Courrèges and developed several art exhibitions. He is on the cover of various magazines, such as the She and the Women's Wear Dail y or even the American edition of Vogue . For his parades, he chooses places rich in meaning and amply representative of French heritage, such as the Galliera Palace and the Trade Exchange — long before it was reopened under the leadership of François Pinault.

Benetton Spring-Summer 2020 show by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac in Milan on September 19, 2019

A true man of culture, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac also had the opportunity, over the course of his career, to create many costumes for the cinema. His creations have stood out in particular in various feature films, such as Violet and Francoi s or again Mrs Doubtfire . It is also to him that we owe the famous dress in add of Lady Gaga , in his music video Telephone . Jean-Charles de Castelbajac also likes to decorate the walls of Paris with angelic chalk drawings, which in 2012 were the subject of a book entitled Angels in the city .

Its dreamlike and naive universe continues to please consumers. This is the reason why many brands imagine collaborations with Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. Among those, Sezan , Benetton , for whom he served as artistic director from 2019 to 2022, but also Rossignol, Petit Bateau and K-Way.

With whom does Jean-Charles de Castelbajac share his life?

On the private side, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac today shares his daily life with the poet Pauline de Drouas . On July 17, 2021, he married the woman who is also the mother of his daughter Eugénie, born in 2020. He also had two sons from a previous union with Katherine Lee Chambers, Guilhem and Louis-Marie, and has maintained a relationship of several years with the ex Miss France Mareva Galanter .