Jean Paul Gaultier has teamed up with luxury furniture manufacturer Roche Bobois to produce a special collection that celebrates the connection between fashion and interior design. As might be expected of the legendary fashion designer, it’s a unique combination of stylish flair and a quirky sense of humour.
Consisting of numerous pieces -seating, storage, screens and even a carpet in his signature matelot stripes- it’s a highly original mix that, like many of Gaultier’s fashion collections, combines a certain decadent luxury with very carefully considered lines. Decorative touches are used boldly, their impact increased by the relatively simple lines of the furniture itself.
The showstopper is the fabulous Mah Jong Modular Sofa, a low-slung seating system that takes its name from the Chinese game with its domino-like tile pieces. At once a knowing piece of contemporary Orientalism, Gaultier’s very special seating solution conjures up both images of a mattress factory and some nineteenth century harem. The more restrained Matelot version –featuring Gaultier’s signature nautical stripes- may have a less Middle Eastern feel to the end result, but any woman who dares to go for the clashing opulence of the Couture model can count on being turned into a contemporary odalisque.
In addition to the opulence of the modular sofas, the collection also offers bedroom furnishings that are a wonderful combination of a nineteenth century boudoir and an Art Deco ocean liner stateroom. The whiff of sea travel is also very much present in the limited edition storage unit that takes its cue from a pile of luxury steamer trunks. Other limited edition storage-cum-partition solutions – such as the Paravent Wardrobe Tatoo Pattern- combine the practicality of chunky wheels with a fusion of contemporary styling, a romantic whiff of Second Empire mirror and the sexiness of sailors’ tattoos.
But, the winner for hands-down cheekiness is the marvelous Ben Hur Chair, a smartass combination of Hollywood Deco streamlining and a chariot fit for Ramón Novarro.
As with many of Gaultier’s clothing collections, the collection for Roche Bobois shows a wonderful combination of camp theatricality, games with historical motifs, classical elegance and an acute awareness of the practical demands of contemporary living.