Jean-Paul Gaultier teams up with soccer player Karim Benzema
Jean-Paul Gaultier is all about alliances. Although the iconic brand decided to put an end to its ready-to-wear line in 2015 and the designer presented his last haute couture collection with an unforgettable show at the Châtelet theater in Paris in January 2020, the brand owned by the Spanish Puig group has devised a future strategy built around collaborations.
This project began with an ongoing series of guest designers invited to design the brand's Haute Couture collections. The participants have included Chitose Abe, Glenn Martens and Olivier Rousteing, who designed the brand's latest high-profile show. Synergies have also been extended throughout the year, with one-off collaborations aimed at keeping the spirit of the brand alive. Highlights include recent collaborations with Russian stylist Lotta Volkova and rapper Lil Nas X.
The latest to join this long and rather eclectic list, whose transversal impact keeps the maison linked to popular and mainstream culture, is French soccer player Karim Benzema. The athlete of Algerian descent born in Bron, a popular neighborhood on the outskirts of Lyon, shares with Gaultier the traits of an "atypical career and a rare social ascent". He hails from a different field, but in a way similar to that of the aforementioned creative director of Balmain, Rousteing. This collaboration underlines the French firm's commitment to merging elements of humility, mainstream success and representation of French culture with an international flair.
"Collaborating with Karim Benzema is an opportunity to pay tribute to a new generation of virtuosos who express themselves boldly and do not hesitate to break free from conventions to challenge the status quo and achieve their goals," said the brand about its partnership with the captain of Real Madrid, who is a self-confessed collector of vintage sunglasses and was the star of the video campaign made by Original Kids.
The athlete participated in creating the reissue of the brand's iconic sunglasses, the "56-6106", after selecting them from the brand's extensive archives. This iconic pair, worn in the 1990s by rapper Tupac, one of KB9's musical references, have been rendered in gold, silver and black. The limited-edition eyewear, available at a price of 390 euros, is already on sale at the Jean-Paul Gaultier online store as well as in select stores.
To celebrate this launch, the fashion house held an event at the New York-based streetwear concept store Kith, which opened in Paris last year. The exclusive event featured a performance by French rapper Big Ben and was attended by Benzema himself.
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