Inside the Wild and Zany World of Jean-Charles de Castelbajac

Inside the Wild and Zany World of Jean-Charles de Castelbajac

By Aileen Kwun
Incorporating everything from pop graphics to Legos, logotypes, and stuffed animals, fashion's outré "King of the Unconventional" comes out with a new monograph next month.

You may recognize his works from some of pop culture's more avant-garde fashion moments—think back to Lady Gaga's 2009 plush toy ensemble, a patchwork composition made from dozens of Kermit the Frog puppets (which, it bears mentioning for design obsessives, shared strange synergy with the Campana Brothers' Banquete seating collection from the previous year). 

Incorporating everything from pop graphics to whole products into his work, French fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac has challenged the boundaries of clothing as a medium for over 40 years, with a diverse body of work that counts clients like Madonna to Pope John Paul II, and collaborations with artists like Andy Warhol and The Sex Pistols. 

Next month, teNeues and Yellow Korner release a new monograph of fashion's favorite enfant terrible—below, take a sneak peek inside the designer's wild and zany world.

A commentary on consumer culture, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac's Summer 1984 collection, titled Homage to the 20th century, featured boxy dresses with famous American brands painted onto gazar fabric.

For World Youth Day in Paris, July 2007, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac designed the liturgical vestments for Pope John Paul II and 5500 members of the clergy, with robes featuring a spectrum of rainbow colors.

For his Spring/Summer 2009 collection, called JC in the Sky with Diamonds, de Castelbajac incorporated plastic Lego blocks to create a line of accessories.

De Castelbajac's Summer 1982 collection offered a tribute to comic strips, with characters from Tintin, Babar, Felix the Cat, and others painted onto silk dresses, worn here by the Paris Opéra ballet company.

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac: Fashion, Art & Rock 'n' Roll comes out next month, published by teNeues and YellowKorner.

All photos © Jean-Charles de Castelbajac: Fashion, Art & Rock 'n' Roll, to be published by teNeues and YellowKorner in September 2016,,


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