He may be one of the world's most famous designers but Jean Paul Gaultier seems to be falling out of love with the fashion industry.
The French couturier–who found fame putting Madonna in a conical bra and helped shape global trends for four decades–shocked the fashion world by ending his ready-to-wear and menswear lines earlier this year.
And in a candid interview with The Associated Press, the 62-year-old–whose signature peroxide quiff has now rather symbolically grayed–explained why.
"Too many clothes kills clothes...Fashion has changed. A proliferation of clothing. Eight collections per season–that's 16 a year," he said.
"The system doesn't work...There aren't enough people to buy them. We're making clothes that aren't destined to be worn," he added as he stood beside a mannequin sporting one of his giant, pointy bustiers.
Gaultier gave his grave prognosis on the health of fashion from the newest leg of his acclaimed retrospective, which has travelled from Montreal to Rotterdam to London and is now in Paris. The scope of the exhibit, from top hats made of human hair to bondage outfits and corsets made of ribbon, showcases Gaultier's brilliance and theatrical flair.
And his launch party–attended by the likes of Kylie Minogue, Catherine Deneuve and Nana Mouskouri–was testament to his enduring popularity.
But the retrospective also feels like it heralds the end of an era. The one-time enfant terrible was once seen as the heir to Yves Saint Laurent, but in recent seasons his womenswear shows failed to impress top critics who judged that his designs now lacked coherence. (AP)