de Castelbajac | Jean-Charles

Biography Jean-Charles de Castelbajac

1949 – Jean-Charles de Castelbajac is born in Casablanca on 28th November, a Sagittarius.


1954-1966 – Schooled by Oratorians, then by the Priests of Betharram. Starts designing fashion from the age of thirteen.


1967 – Lives in Limoges with his mother, Jeanne-Blanche de Castelbajac, née Empereur-Bissonet. Obtains legal capacity. Meets the Dadaist Raoul Hausmann, from whom he purchases a photograph. Cuts a jacket from the bedsheets in his lodgings.


1968 – Auditor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts).

Creates his first range of womenʼs ready-to-wear clothing for the Valmont tailoring company founded in Limoges by his mother. In reference to the chaos of the events in May, he renames the company KO & Co. The jacket cut from bedsheets is a hit.


1969 – First fashion show. Using appropriated materials: mops, sponges, wax cloths, etc. Chantal Thomass and Kenzo Takada sketch designs for KO & Co.


1970 – Jean-Charles de Castelbajac works for the ready-to-wear companies V de V and Pierre dʼAlby in France. In Italy, he creates a collection of jeans for the Jésus brand―the publicity campaign, borrowing the phrase “Those who love me, follow me”, uses a photograph of mini-shorts worn by a young lady and results in a scandal that launches the brand very efficiently. Creates stage costumes: For singer Dany at the Alcazar music hall and for Marc’O, le triangle frappe encore”, a musical comedy at the TNP theatre. He becomes friends with Roland Topor and Jean-François Bizot, founder of Actuel magazine.


1972 – Rejoins the “Creators and Industrialists” group created by Andrée Putman and Didier Grumbach, and is part of the new talent called “creators”. First fashion show on the roof of the car park at Place du Marché Saint-Honoré with Christiane Bailly, Issey Miyake and Roland Chakkal.

His first boutique opens at number 31, Place du Marché Saint-Honoré.

Breaks into Women’s Wear Daily: “Castelbajac, the man on the moon”. He is called “the Courrèges of the 1970s”.


1973 – Fashion show at the Galliera museum. Clothing inspired by the future made from Velpeau, mica and protective nylon strips. Meets Robert Malaval.


1974 – Fashion show at the Commodity Market: Skiing apparel made from transparent plastic filled with feathers, whereby the colours are chosen and combined by Malaval. First poncho for two people.

Meets Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood in London.


1975 – Works with the Italian industrialist Achille Maramotti, founder of Max Mara, for whom he designs the Sportmax range.


1976 – Designs costumes for Isabelle Adjani for the film Violette and François and for Woody Allen in Annie Hall directed by Woody Allen, and dresses Elton John.

Meets the New York Dolls.

Creates stitching for Iceberg.

Creates costumes for the character Purdey in the series The New Avengers.


1977 – First fashion show in Japan and opens his first boutique in the Roppongi district of Tokyo.

Designs costumes for Elli and Jacno, Kraftwerk, as well as for Farah Fawcett in the series Charlieʼs Angels.


1978 – Leaves “Creators and Industrialists” to found his own company, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.

First uses literary texts as prints.


1979 – Member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture (Trade Union of High Fashion) as a creator.

Undertakes aviation interior design project for Air France with designer Roger Tallon.


1980 – Launches his perfume “Première”.

Meets Robert Mapplethorpe.

Discovers Italian Transavantgarde thanks to criticism from Mario Diacono. Purchases pieces by Sandro Chia and Mimmo Paladino.

Photography campaign called “The Contemporaries” by Bettina Rheims.


1981 – Furniture design with a balloon-backed chair and a “Proust” table.

„Proust Questionnaire“ dress and Perfecto jacket made from a collection of leather gloves.


1982 – First dress paintings painted by Jean-Charles Blais, Robert Combas and Loulou Picasso.


1983 – Series of tribute dresses (from Mickey Mouse and Louis XVI to Jackie Kennedy).

Photography campaign called “The Contemporaries II” by Oliviero Toscani.

Meets Cindy Sherman, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.


1984 – Basquiatʼs work inspires the graffiti dresses that he designs with a graffiti artist.

“Shiva” jumper with six sleeves.

Painted dress-objects in tribute to “Andy Warhol”.

“Front-to-back” clothing (suits and tuxedos buttoned at the back) and jackets worn as skirts and skirts worn as jackets.

First oversized clothing, “Gulliver clothing”.


1985 – Takes the fashion class at the Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna.

Exhibition of his designs and art collection at the Museum of Modern Art in Troyes.

Works with Snoopy Incorporated.

Creates rugs, curtains printed with poems, a collection of table art including “Sparta” and “Parthenon” glasses.


1986 – Works with K-Way.

Exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

Together with André Courrèges, helps to design liturgical vestments for the Sacred Art Committee.

First enamels designed in Limoges.


1987 – Stage costumes for Elli Medeiros.


1988 – Monographic “Anti Körper” exhibition at the MAK in Vienna.

Creates the “Teddy Bear” coat.

Launches second perfume “JCC no. 2”.


1989 – Opens second boutique in Paris, on rue des Petits-Champs.

Participates in the “Nos années 80” exhibition (“Our 1980s”) at UCAD.

Granted a licence with Ligne Roset to create fabric and furniture ranges.


1991 – Participates in the “Le monde selon ses créateurs” exhibition (“The World According to its Creators”) at the Galliera Museum.

Designs a stained-glass window for Chartres.

“Tagliatelle” collection.


1992 – Malcolm McLaren composes the music for his autumn/winter fashion show, where the CD replaces an invitation card.

Exhibition at the VIA of his furniture, design and table art creations.

Exhibition of his “letter-writing raincoats” at the Musée de la Poste.


1993 – Designs two watches for Swatch.


1994 – Becomes an “Officer of Arts and Letters”.

First collection together with André Courrèges.

New boutique on Place Saint-Sulpice.

Designs footwear for Weston and Palladium.


1997 – Designs liturgical vestments for Pope Jean-Paul II and for 5,500 clergymen to celebrate the 12th World Youth Day in Paris.


1998 – Teaches at the Saint-Martin School of Design in London.

University lecturer at the Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna.

Commander of Arts and Letters.


1999 – “First Aid” fashion show.

Opens the Concept Store on rue Madame.

President of the Ready-to-Wear Trade Union.

Opens the “Assistants” shop on rue Madame, where his collaboratorsʼ work is displayed.


2000 – First and only haute couture collection, “Bellintellingentsia”.

“State of Emergency” endless fashion show presented at the brand new François Mitterrand metro station (Line 14).

Returns to men’s fashion with the “Presumed innocent” collection.


2001 – Pays tribute to Guy Pellaert with the “Physical Graffiti” collection.

“Frankenstein le dandy” women’s collection.

Launches his third perfume “Doudou”, wins a design award.

Creates skiwear for Rossignol, works with Le Coq Sportif.


2002 – Designs the costumes for the musical comedy The Little Prince.


2003 – Before completing the works on his new boutique on rue de Vauvilliers, presents the “Working Class Heroes” menʼs collection, in which certain of his friends took to the catwalk: Malcolm McLaren, Jacno, Laurent Voulzy, Christophe Pillet, etc.


2004 – Opens his studio and new Concept Store, designed with Christian Ghion and located at number 10 rue de Vauvilliers.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Hello Kitty, he directs the “Hôtel Kittyfornia” short film with Mareva Galanter.


2005 – Tennis, football and dancewear collections for Le Coq Sportif and receives an order for new uniforms for the Scouts and Guides of France.


2006 – “Honi soit qui mal y pense” collection as a tribute to the United Kingdom.

“Propaganda” monographic exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Trekking collection for Rossignol.

Fantasy tale “Eneco” published.

Installation ordered by Citroën for the International Contemporary Art Fair: the “Kubrickscube” (giant Rubikʼs Cube illuminated in sync with a soundtrack).


2007 – “Rockmantica” fashion show.

“Electrocute” fashion show (collection worn by the singer M.I.A.).

“Gallierock” at Galliera, City of Paris Fashion Museum. Installation based on forty years of design. JC/DC published by Artus (biography in a series of cartoons by Artus de Lavilléon).


2008 – “Sportacus” fashion show (Pedro Winter & DSL live).

“Once upon a time” fashion show (Curry and Coco live).

Opens his first Concept Store in London, at 51 Conduit Street, in Mayfair.


2009 – “JC in the sky with diamonds” fashion show with a dress in tribute to Barack Obama and uses Lego bricks as accessories for the first time (Man Like Me live).

Designs stage costumes for M.I.A., Micky Green, Beth Ditto, Katy Perry, Kanye West, etc.

Fashion show: “Be Bop My Lola” in tribute to Warhol and the Muppets used in the build-up (Le Corps Mince de Françoise live).

Works with Lee Cooper jeans to celebrate the brandʼs 100th anniversary.

Exhibits his plastic artwork for the first time at the Paradise Row gallery in London as part of “The triumph of the sign” exhibition.

“Tyranny of style” exhibition at the Banque Gallery in Paris.


2010 – “Go go diva” fashion show.

“Pirates, parrots & paradise” fashion show (Ebony Bones live).

Neon installation around the equestrian statue of Henry IV, on Pont-Neuf, as part of the national celebrations in honour of the four-hundredth anniversary of the kingʼs death.

Designs a jacket for Beyoncé and a dress for Lady Gaga for the “Telephone” video.


2011 – “Über Tropikal Airlines” fashion show (The Shoes live).

“Woman Ray” fashion show in tribute to Man Ray (Gentlemen Drivers live).

“Ceremony” at MAC in Créteil in March, followed by “Dawn of Innocence” at 104 in Paris in November.


2012 – “Rustica Galactica” fashion show (Tomorrow’s World live).

“Fire on Ice” fashion show (Woodkid live).

Lille 3000 opening ceremony where “Fantômes” is performed

Inauguration of the first “White Night” in Tel Aviv where “The dawn of innocence” is performed.

“The Twilight of Innocence” installation in Moscow.


2013 – “Esmeraldorado” fashion show in tribute to Oscar Niemeyer (Superpitcher live).

Press Reviews

(…) Entre-temps, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac prévoit de customiser une édition limitée de jarres en céramique avec le concours d’artisans locaux et, un peu plus proche de nous, de publier, en novembre aux Éditions teNeues et Yellow Korner, un beau livre retraçant en images ses quarante ans de mode graphique et colorée.. (…)

– LE FIGARO, France

(…) a glossy new tome (…)

– Metropolitan, UK

(…) Monograph of fashion’s favorite enfant terrible (…)

–, USA

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