The strongest memories of Jean Claude Jitrois’ childhood are watching the belles élégantes, promenading in their new look finery on the arms of their gentlemen, making their way to the l’Archevêche theatre in Aix-en-Provence. Appearing as visions of elegance, their forms were expertly constructed with corsetry and tight, restricting ensembles of wool and silk. Jean Claude perceived these women to be like beautiful caged birds; trapped in their own corsetry, and dreamed one day of liberating them.
In this Jitrois collection for Autumn/Winter 2013-14, this dream can at last be fully realized. In approaching the aesthetics of the 1950s decade from two opposing directions - the salon and the street - and in marrying the couture silhouette with that of motorcycle rebel clubs, stretch leather becomes an instrument of liberation for the 1950s woman. The good girl goes bad, subverting the ultra-feminine look of graphic lines and crafted draping by reconstructing it in leather, feather and fur as an exercise in pure texture.
Feathers are used both to form delicate yet defined trims - severe to the eye and soft to the touch - and carry through the collection in a quilted baroque motif on sheer silk and structured knitwear. Elements which trace their origins from biker rebel culture are re-imagined: collar studs become crystals; tough leather lacing inspires the ergonomic crochet on skinny cigarette pants, and long leather fringes in the skirts of evening gowns illustrate the ultimate vision of aesthetic liberation. The Jitrois woman claims the power to command her future as her own. She triumphs over taboos, whilst endeavoring to remain inimitably, timelessly, exceptionally elegant.