Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, a very unique style


Mission Mode

Focus on the conference of October 21, 2016 at the Alcazar in Marseille, underlining the influence of the military uniform on the civil wardrobe in correlation with the double exhibition “Mission Mode, Styles croisés” at the Bouches-du-Rhône department.

Directed by the two curators of this exhibition: Xavier LANDRIT and the Captain Gerald Seznec; we were pleased to meet with an amazing guest: Jean Charles de Castelbajac. He brought us his personal experience but also how the textile tradition and the army have impacted his creations. 
After Graduating at the School of Fine Arts and a higher education in apparel industry, Jean Charles de Castelbajac was able, very early on, to establish a link between different forms of art and fashion. Inspired by these personal experiences, his art reflects a more functional vision of the style.In fact, his style has no limits. It is really a constant renewal, which reject entirely the monotony. He knows how to stand out and charm his audience. In his own colourful and quirky world; the poetry and the authenticity of his creations come together to deliver us true masterpieces. This artist creates by transforming all the elements that surround him in the society. He mixes every kind of materials like (Mops, sponges, oilcloth, tapestry ...) which grant him the title of "Plastic artist". He leads his own creative guerrilla and presents us a style in which the garment is a real protector of the body.
In fact, Castelbajac is a man of passions for form and function, for protection and comfort. Each of his creations have been influenced by the military field, but also the Pop art, the painting and music. For example his first garment; a famous coat, cut out of a blanket from boarding school or the "Poncho" for two, as well as the “Teddy bear” jacket, or “the Bambi garment”. Another well-known creation a chasuble entirely embroidered in multicolored crosses, worn by the Pope John Paul II at the occasion of the WORLD YOUNG DAY. Relaxed, sophisticated, this is how is described the woman Castelbajac Paris.

Unconventional, this talented man likes drawing angels with chalk, on some streets. He is also involved in the environmental cause, by achieving in 2005, a fresco, covering the facade of Orly's airport during the COP21.

Fresco Orlove by Castelbajac, Orly’s airport/ Chalk angels

Back on the Castelbaljac's success story

Mission Mode
Born and raised in a Military family, It is common to assert that “when you born Castelbajac, you born with a steel helmet on your head”
He knew with creative way, how to combine the textile industry and the army, creating in 1970 his first camouflage clothing, distinguishing himself from the others creators, through uncommon pieces.

Functional clothing
Passionate about the military history and his heroes, his inspiration comes from his childhood.  JCDC likes to detract objects; his first experience of reappropriation was realized on his boarder blanket, to enable the protection of another person in a different form, just like he was protected by his blanket when he needed it. The garment's functionality is one of his priorities (clothing infant carrier). It also favors the curative aspect of the garment through the use of surgical tape Velpeau to create some of his dresses.

Intriguing clothing  
“I do not create clothing to make them good looking, only to challenge the conscience of people, to disturb” as he said at the conference. Astounding, this artist has worked with various artists such as the Sex Pistols, Lady Gaga, Max Mara or Vivienne Westwood.

Sentimental clothing.
According to his vision, a good designer has to present a part of his soul by creating.  “Clothes are like emotions, they are telling something more than just a story of appearances” and everybody have a story to tell. One of our favourite sentences he shared with us was:  “The garment is seen as a style, a look, but when someone disappears, we keep from him his garment, and it's the only thing that we have left to us”.

Its opinion on the current fashion
To quote Immanuel Kant "Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind" and this is the message which was sent to us at this conference. According to JCDC an anti-fashion artist, marketing tends to bully some designers with a saturation of visual signals. "We need to open the windows and release the butterflies, » he said poetically. As a child with overflowing imagination, it’s certain that Jean-Charles de Castelbajac will continue to surprise us with his works and ideas.                                                                                                                                     

Marion JOURDAN & Léva LARBI Master 1 Métiers de la Mode et du Textile (AMU)

Mission Mode