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Jean Charles de Castelbajac S/S 2011: Paris Fashion Week

Henry Holland and Jeremy Scott may be the most notorious purveyors of kitschy, print-heavy, cartoon-inspired collections, but the original – and arguably the most talented – is Jean Charles de Castelbajac.

For his Spring 2011 collection, the designer was inspired by an imaginary trip to Africa via the faux airline "Uber Tropikal Airlines."

Though his inspiration may have been fantasy, he brought the concept to life in his quirky spring collection show.

The show started with an announcement that takeoff was imminent.  Models appeared, donning JC/DC’s take on men’s and women’s flight attendant uniforms. Their “uniforms” involved smart, fitted suits, gold buttons and, of course, an inflatable yellow life vest for full effect. 

“Vol de Nuit” (French for “Night Flight”), was printed across the chest of other models before an array of Le Petit Prince-inspired looks made their debut.

It should be noted that the author of the famed children’s book, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, was a noted aviator, and disappeared while conducting a WWII reconnaissance mission.

Fitted safari-inspired khaki looks alternated with smartly incorporated animal print designs. A black and white horizontally striped dress, for example, combined two zebra heads into the garment’s shoulders – camouflage at its zany best.

Accessories were incorporated everywhere, from necklaces fashioned out of watches to tops with sleeves made out of sunglasses. The show ended with an ode to France, with a model wearing a hand-drawn Eiffel Tower print dress, while a satin neck pillow clung to her neck.  


Though it may not be the most wearable collection, the show was certainly one of the more entertaining at this year’s Paris Fashion Week.