Jean-Paul Gaultier to retire as fashion designer

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French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier said Friday that his next Paris haute couture fashion show will be his last.

The flamboyant creator said he would be bowing out on Wednesday with a big party to mark his 50 years in the business after his latest collection hits the catwalk.

His brand told AFP that his high-end fashion and perfume business would live on, but that Gaultier was stepping back from designing clothes himself.

“Rest assured haute couture will continue with a new concept,” said the designer, who famously put Madonna in a conical top.

Gaultier dropped the bombshell in a typically jokey video message, shot as if he was giving an exclusive interview to a reporter over the phone.

Reclining on a chaise longue, he whispered, “Now I am going to give you a scoop. It will be my last couture show. You have to come, you can’t miss that... but, but, but, I assure you, Gaultier Paris will go on, the haute couture will continue.

“I have a new concept. I will tell you about it later, all the little secrets. To be continued! Kisses, kisses.”

Gaultier, 67, stopped designing ready-to-wear clothes in 2015 to concentrate on haute couture - handmade clothes which only the world’s richest women can afford.

But as late as last year he insisted that he had no intention of putting down his scissors - although he despaired of animal rights activists pressuring him to stop using furs.

A teenage prodigy, who rose to fame in the 1980s when the Paris fashion scene was at its most decadent, Gaultier also carved out a parallel television career as the co-presenter of a cheeky series, “Eurotrash.”

In 2018, he staged his own hit cabaret show based loosely on his life story called “Fashion Freak Show,” which opened at the Folie Bergere in Paris.

A spokeswoman for his brand told AFP that the designer would be back, but like the veteran Japanese creator Kenzo - who has moved into interior design - it would be in other areas.

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