Fashion Designers

Jean-Claude Jitrois: A Portrait

Jean-Claude Jitrois

Jean-Claude Jitrois

PARIS, Jan 11, 2005/ FW/ — If ever the path to glory takes roots in the success of a previous career, then French leather couturier, Jean-Claude Jitrois, is the quintessential success story by excellence.

Jean-Claude Jitrois, a clinical psychologist and therapist in psycho-motility, taught psychology at Nice University. His debut in the field was most promising and brought to him much recognition. He authored several books including “Que sais-je ?”, on psycho-motility. Then he saw in clothes another type of skin that the body can wear every day. According to him, this is the first and most obvious skin, and you simply don’t have the choice, as society imposes it to you through its codes. Bodies, while they are moving, communicate through clothes, and help personalities to strengthen or stagnate, identities to be build or be unbound.

In the early 80’s, Jean-Claude Jitrois gave his career an entirely new direction. He opened in Nice a small leather clothes shop. The desire of a new activity, the longing to thoroughly practice another job led him towards this new path.

He considered fashion as a language where bodies, very much like in dancing, communicate through a system of signs that can vary and be modified, and a basis from which to work. Jean-Claude Jitrois realized that it was possible to adapt a lot of elements of his theory and of his therapeutic practice to Couture. His first intuition, his vision of fashion was that clothes were like a second skin, a second self, a non – verbal language within the social body. Jean Claude Jitrois simply changed his activity, but he surely did not change his trade.

His first shop in Nice was a success in itself. A second one was launched in St Tropez. The Jetset could not resist his creations: Cher, Elton John, to name but a few, became his favourite customers and wore the Jitrois leather. Word of mouth was efficient, stars were bringing along other stars. St Tropez set off his success…in one season (from April to September), success was immediate.

There was the need for a new address. Then came along his new boutique at 48, rue du Faubourg St Honoré in the 8th district of Paris.

These were the couture leather years. Leather had left the masculine world of work to enter the luxury and fashion world. The designer unified the ordinary signification of leather with the one of the French Couture. He imposed it as a leading material. He has been the first to colour the skins.

If Jean-Claude Jitrois’s work belonged to the fashion trend that legitimated and promoted leather, he definitely enjoyed it and was at the forefront of its use in mainstream fashion. Shop openings spread at this time, not only in the USA, but also in Japan and of course in Europe.

In the 90’s, a remarquable technical innovation brought the company and Jitrois’ creative work towards new boundaries. In 1993, Jean-Claude Jitrois launched the Stretch Leather.

Tighter to the body with no more creases, or distortions, it moulds perfectly to the body. Stretch Leather is not anymore only a garment but it turns into a second skin.

This discreetly revolutionary innovation increased Jean-Claude Jitrois’ success: two new stores simultaneously opened in Sloane Street in London, the prestigious street of luxury products and the another in Moscow. The brand was also distributed in America at Ultimo in Chicago, and through numerous very selective stores, which regularly added one to another.

Today Jitrois is a name, a style and a creative design.

Clothes are no more what you wear, they fit to the skin and perfectly show the movements of the body and the muscles.

“Nothing is more important than skin”, used to say Paul Valéry, and the designer made his this phrase. He had been successful in sharing it with us by making it sensual.

Jean Claude Jitrois also finds his concrete and daily inspiration in Arts, and particularly in Painting.

Stretch Leather, the association of leather and stretch cotton, truly is the most innovative union but there is also the Minoray, a mix of organza and leather, which has become a classic.

Since 2001, a whole range of man and woman denim trousers, T–shirts and accessories such as bags or belts have been offered to the public.

At the end of December 2001, with the theme Rosa and Guernica, he designed the smocked leather, which once again revolutionised the image of leather by giving it volume.

Today, the brand is present in the biggest Parisian department stores such as Les Galeries Lafayette and Bon Marché, and in Harrods in London.

Jean-Claude Jitrois knew how to diversify his creations, so as to develop his company to be today a famous brand worldwide that continues to attract the world’s top stars like Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé Knowles and Michael Schumacher.