All About Jean-Charles De Castelbajac

For over 30 years, the creative mind of Jean-Charles de Castelbajac has developed artistically playful designs that have maintained shades of youthful vivaciousness.

Born in Casablanca, Castelbajac's career in fine fashion started in his early 20's.After toying with the idea of studying management in school, he decided to pursue his passion for fashion by designing a line for his mother's fashion house, Ko and Co.He then evolved his career in fashion by becoming an assistant to Ziga Pianco at Pierre d'Alby.Soon after in 1970, he presented his first runway show of his collection that was considered revolutionary to many people.In many of the pieces he unexpectedly used everyday items like blankets, bandage gauze and burlap to create unique apparel. The success of his initial collection prompted him to open his first boutique in Paris, but it wasn't until 1978 that his name was set in stone as an official label.The basis of many of his designs combined the functionality of everyday materials with splashes of aesthetic flair.His unconventional ingenious style manipulates basic clothing by confidently playing with bold colors, popular icons and different fabrics.

Castelbajac's teenage French upbringing works as a fine inspiration as his clothes contain elements that range between contemporary urban street fashions to the blatant sophistication that emulates throughout the country.Childhood nostalgia also serves as a muse as he is known for implementing cartoon and comic book elements in many of his designs.Images of the Jetsons as well as Pixie and Dixie have graced much his knitwear while belts with comic book exclamations like "KLINK!" and "YAOOW!" have been included in his runway shows. He cleverly utilizes pop culture to construct very creative skirts, pants and tops.In 2004, he created homage to Arnold Schwarzenegger's political career by featuring an image of him on an outfit with the words, "Made in California".Other tongue-in-cheek ingredients that have graced his pieces are kindergarten drawings fused with modern art, action figures, plastic capes, sporadically placed zippers and an endless list of unexpected items.There have been many imitators of his pioneering designs, but none of them contain his energy and originality. His campy innovativeness continues to differentiate him as a fashionable designer.

As Castelbajac's career in the world of fashion progressed, his designs did not only gain him recognition from other designers, but from celebrities as well.During the popularity of "Charlie's Angels", he designed some of the wardrobe worn by the iconic Farah Fawcett.In keeping with his childhood inspiration, he created a Teddy Bear coat that was worn by Madonna and Donna Summer.In addition, his work has been admired by other notable names in entertainment like Mick Jagger and John Lennon.His love for art continued to escalate as he began to collaborate with famous artists like Basquiat and Harring.To even further expand his drive for design, he began making furniture with famous French designer, Roger Tallon.

1999 marked a special occasion for Castelbajac when he was appointed as the president of the Representative Committee of the French Federation of Couture, Ready-to-wear, Fashion Workers and Fashion Designers.Upon this esteemed honor, he dipped into the pool of haute couture in July 2000 by presenting his collection, "Bellintelligentsia".

Even though the comic book appearance of his designs maintain a nuance of vibrant hilarity, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac maintains his prestige and seriousness as a designer.His main line of clothing and accessories remain very exclusive, while his main commercial item, "Women, Jean, Knitwear, Men" are an enormous success.Castelbajac world-renowned name echoes creativity, as he remains a fashion-forward trendsetter of contemporary couture.

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