Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Marquis de Escapism

I first discovered French nobleman and fashion designer Jean Charles de Castelbajac, when I was doing research for my final major project during university. I wanted to create a line that had irony as its Unique Selling Point, and looked at other labels that continuously had an ironic, witty, or whimsical design sensibility. In general, I think fashion is taken too seriously and the goal was to create an anti-thesis to the 'style dictator'; but maintain commercial appeal.

Fashion veteran Jean Charles de Castelbajac has created the perfect example of an 'ironic' brand. His work is fun, colorful, humorous, and sometimes ranks low on the wearability scale. He also has a penchant for all things juvenile, often featuring Disney and cartoon characters in his collections. 

Perpetually referencing popular culture; he got the Grime (British urban, hip-hop music) artists wearing cartoon characters, and has designed a Teddy-bear coat for Madonna. Another example is a collaboration with South Park for his AW10 JC/DC diffusion line.
Madonna Teddy-bear coat; AW10 JC/DC South Park collaboration

His AW11/12 line has the same aesthetic sensibility, but with  a commercialized maturity. What stood out was the 101 dalamation print, because it was reminiscent of TopShop Unique's  AW11, Cruella-de-Vil themed collection. I also (perhaps predictably) loved the horse print, and velvet pieces! :) 
JC de Castelbajac AW11/12 collection via elle.com
JC de Castelbajac AW11/12 collection via elle.com

My favoritEST of his shows is his SS09, JC in the Sky With Diamonds collection. He had me at the clouds!
JC de Castelbajac SS09 collection via elleuk.com

Some other memorable Castelbajac moments:
AW09; SS10; AW10; AW10; AW10 via Elle.com & Elleuk.com
SS11; SS11; SS08; AW08; AW08 via Elle.com & Elleuk.com

To me, his pop-art collections are always an incredible escapist experience!


  1. JCDC is one of my favourite designers ever.
    Sometimes I wonder if Manish Arora takes inspiration from him.
    He creates the most ingenuous prints I have seen and incorporates them so flawlessly in his garments that even the kitschiest print is commercial.
    How did I not know about the 101 dalmations collection. I have sinned!

    Also, loving your blog to bits. It's lovely to find a blog as intelligent as yours!

  2. I've wondered that too!

    And thanks!...its still a baby :)

  3. i gotta say,i'd never really heard of him!
    but now that i have,i'm loving his work!especially the southpark tee and tights!
    in my opinion,his work is right up there with the ASHISH's and jeremy scott's of the world!


  4. oooooooooooo!!quirky!!!! and ya I do wonder if Manish has any correlation with him!?!

  5. Thank you for your comments guys!

    @Sartorial diary: I agree, his work is akin to Ashish & JS.

  6. I love these! Thanks for sharing :)

  7. i love pop arty fashion with quirk and humor!! its soo much more fun!!! like the jeremy scott collections

    this one is great too...thanks for introducing em to it


  8. I want the SP tights and the Sistine Chapel dress!