Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac

As I mentioned in my last post, I like to read about what Lady Gaga is wearing. Who doesn't? She is a cypher and a Sphinx.

Anyway, I came across a picture of her on my favorite blog, Gofugyourself. Basically they were like "Lady Gaga, you have gone too far." Here is what she was wearing:

In case this is somehow unclear to you, her skirt is Animal from The Muppet Show. You know, the drummer. An! I! Mal!

"Ha ha," I thought, "what a crazy costume she (aka her stylist) has designed." But then the website was like "Of course, this is straight off the runway." "Surely not," I thought.

But lo:

Now my day is about finding out everything I can about Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, the designer of this outfit.

First of all, dude is a Marquis de Castelbajac, which means he is a French nobleman. We don't really have that here. Second, his nickname is JC/DC, which is hilarious. Basically, he is a whimsical sprite who has rocked weird design and outfits since the early 70s. He takes his inspiration from pop art and culture, and counts among his influences Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. An early hit was a coat made of teddy bears that Madonna wore. Check it:

Other clients include THE POPE. In 1997 he was chosen as the official designer of the Catholic celebration World Youth Days. He dressed 5,000 priests and the pope in rainbow-themed vestments. I couldn't find many pictures (priests aren't photographed as often as Lady Gaga) but here's one:

According to an interview on the website IQONS, "The most amazing adventure of JC/DC’s life so far was when he was asked to dress 5,000 priests, 500 bishops and the Pope for their visit in Paris. The theme of the collection was the rainbow based on the story of Noah and the arc. God spoke to Noah and told him that “if you see the rainbow in the sky there will be peace between me and the human race”. The idea went over well but JC/DC thought it best to inform the Bishop that the rainbow was also the symbol of the gay community. The Bishop’s reaction was not one of shock rather he said that nobody owned the copyright on the rainbow and that was that. Once the work was completed the Pope spoke to JC/DC: “Young man, you have used colour as a cement of faith."


This guy is great, and I will close with a number of my new favorite Castelbajac designs. There's also a video with Lego people wearing his clothes Lego-style. I have no idea what it's related to, but it's fun to watch them strut.


Irene said...

Great post, Cristina! I love the pope part for some reason.

And: that's it, I'm making a teddy bear coat tonight. Now... where am I going to find all the teddy bears...

Sandra Suzanne said...

I kind of like the Animal dress.

In fact, I would totally rock the Animal dress if I had a bijillion dollars from making mediocre dance music.

Anastasia said...

When I first saw the Animal dress on the runway, I fell in love! But they didn't have it in the London Castelbajac store :-( I find it amazing how many people in fashion and arts don't know about Jean-Charles, considering how amazing and out-there his collections can be!

I think someone made the Lego video because in that and the previous collection, Jean-Charles had made a lot of accessories out of Lego, and had even designed a Lego print for some of the fabrics. Apparently they didn't have the copyright though, so his shops couldn't actually sell the Lego accessories - so we gotta make our own!