Jean Charles de Castelbajac

Born: Casablanca, Morocco, 1949

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac moved to France with his family during the fifties, where his mother opened her own clothing business. In 1968 he began designing for her; this led to Paris manufacturer Pierre D’Alby hiring Castelbajac, whom he designed several lines for.

In 1970 Castelbajac launched his own label. Experimenting with Pop Art themes, he took inspiration from the sixties and seventies icons, Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin.

In 1979 Castelbajac began designing furniture and interiors, taking traditional furnishings and reviving them. Continuing to design his own collections, he was offered a job at Max Mara to create the Sportmax brand for the label.

Castelbajac took inspiration from Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s work from their shop in the 1970s. Becoming known for his art-to-wear clothing, Castelbajac fixed different objects to his garments that had meaning to him, something which he had admired from Westwood’s customized T-Shirts. Hand printed fabrics with logos, messages and images characterized his work during the eighties.

In 1997 Castelbajac designed outfits for the Pope and senior members of the Vatican. For his autumn/winter 1999/2000 collection, Castelbajac held the show in a Paris metro station. The collection entitled “State of Emergency” featured protective clothing and padded coats with a military style. Following this his autumn/winter 2002 menswear show was held on an ice rink.

In 2006 Castelbajac featured in a retrospective at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Clients that had previously included Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Beyonce, MIA and Katy Perry had given Castelbajac the unofficial title of JC / DC, a name which Castelbajac chose to keep.

In 2010 Castelbajac followed in the footsteps of Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Louis Vuitton by taking over the windows of Selfridges on Oxford Street, London. Creating a science-fiction inspired installation, Castelbajac stated it as a tribute to Malcolm McLaren.

Known to design with a colourful and fun aesthetic, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac offers showmanship in his designs. Often eccentric, his whimsical style mixes bright colours with pop culture.

Jean Charles de Castelbajac Biography

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Written by Saxony Dudbridge

Saxony Dudbridge was one of the first contributors to the Catwalk Yourself project, Saxony studies International Fashion Marketing and she is responsible for our great History and Designers Biographies sections.

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