We knew the ‘pop’ level in the collection had significantly gone down when the show opened with a brown tartan blanket coat paired with leather gauntlet gloves and riding boots. Was this… JCDC doing demure? It pays to remember though that back in the seventies, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac’s work was not ridden with Disney characters and cartoon motifs. This was in a sense consolidating his work back then which was about high octane graphic pieces with a cheeky wit fusing with his ongoing obsession with the cartoonish and the fun. Mixed in with the tartan, we got 101 Dalmations, worked into a print that was less about the little pups’ faces but more about building up a graphic pattern.
Wide legged trousers, trench coats and high-collared jackets formed a 70s inspired silhouette that touched on JCDC’s body of work. A colourful equestrian print then made way for the memorable theme of the show, which was based on photographs by Man Ray that adorned silk dresses mixed in with scarlet velvet embroidered with gold f-holes to add a literal grandeur to the prints. On par for course with the Man Ray theme, a pair of leather hands moulded to cup the breasts or around the waist drew applause from the eager audience. All in all it was another typically eclectic mish-mash for JCDC but gave way to a lot more sophisticated pieces that didn’t need to scream with pop culture references.
Dazed Digital: There was a very grown-up feeling to the collection – what prompted that?
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac: This is a collection I love particularly because it’s not as pop as it normally is. It’s about my sombre side and it’s about my history. Many clothes in the show are clothes that I’ve done in the past in the 70s and the 80s. I just wanted to crystallise what is a classic Castelbajac.
DD: So was it a retrospective in some way?
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac: It’s not a retrospective. It’s just that I’ve had a long career – it’s like Chanel has their classics and so now I have mine.
DD: How did Man Ray figure into the collection?
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac: It’s about surrealism and women. It’s about the surrealists who showed a mysterious side to women at the same time that fashion magazines were showing a glamorous side of women. I found this quite interesting so that is why I called the collection ‘Woman Ray’.