Nothing to wear? Fashion fans have been invited to slip into a piece of history as Jean Paul Gaultier launches a rental service of some of its most iconic designs.
In a move expected to position the French fashion house at the forefront of a new dawn for luxury retail, clients will be able to borrow from an archive spanning more than 30,000 pieces, created by France’s beloved enfant terrible during his 50-year career as a designer.
The service, which launches on Wednesday, will feature a revolving collection of pieces from the 1980s and 90s, incluyendo el Eurotrash presenter’s famous cage dress and the satin cone brassiere corsets that received icon status thanks to Madonna, who wore one during her Blond Ambition tour.
A studded denim look from one of Gaultier’s delightfully off-the-wall menswear collections will also be available to rent.
With prices ranging from about €150 (£126) for a scarf to €700 for the short-term let of a cage-style evening dress, Gaultier hopes to open its brand to a broader audience and entice a new generation to experience the brand.
The launch of a vintage category, through which customers can buy pre-loved items bearing the Gaultier label, is also part of the house’s new strategy.
A collection of 50 vintage items sourced from private clients and resellers will be for sale on the brand’s website.
The decision to launch its in-house vintage offer follows keen interest in Gaultier on release sites, including Vestiare Collective and Depop. Corsets from the French house are among the most in-demand vintage pieces.
The decision to take ownership of this part of the market is a new beginning for Jean Paul Gaultier. The maison has been operating without its founding designer since he retired from the catwalk in 2019.
Under the management of Antoine Gagey, and with help from its newly appointed creative director, Florence Tétier, Gaultier has its sights set on competing with a new breed of fashion superbrand.
The strategy includes delivering drops instead of the traditional seasonal fashion collections, working with a cast of hype-beast collaborators and appealing to a Gen Z consumer who is inspired by vintage fashion.
“We want to explore new ways of buying and experiencing fashion by mixing in the same platform,” Gagey told WWD.
While fast-fashion outlets such as Boohoo and Misguided continue to captivate young people, fashion’s rental and resale market is growing, particularly at the luxury end of the scale.
UK-based fashion rental sites including Hurr, Mywardrobe.com and By Rotation are pitted as alternatives to fast fashion.
The rental sector, endorsed by Carrie Johnson, OMS rented her dress for her wedding to the prime minister, is expected to be worth £2.3bn by 2029 and has been touted as a possible solution to fashion’s environmental crisis.