Steven Klein, Girl with Hat [Kate Moss], Harper’s Bazaar, 1993. Chic Rabbis collection, Women’s prêt-à-porter fall/winter 1993-1994.
‘André Malraux is credited with saying that “the twenty-first century will be religious or it will not come about at all.” That sentence inspired Rap’Prayers. I wanted to celebrate religious diversity, to pay homage to religion without focusing on any one in particular. The runway show was quite varied, running the gamut from nuns to rappers. The catalyst for the Chic Rabbis collection was a trip to New York in the early 1990s. I saw a group of rabbis leaving the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. I found them very beautiful, very elegant, with their hats and their huge coats flapping in the wind. It was a fantastic scene. I was afraid that the collection would be poorly received. I knew reactions might be mixed, that some might feel offended and find my and find my approach ridiculous. But the fashion press was very enthusiastic, and even Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of the American edition of Vogue, really liked it. The big photographers, like Steven Meisel, Ellen von Unwerth and Sten Klein, photographed the top models of the time with pieces from this In the music video for “Heart-shaped Box.” However, some of the pictures were poorly received by Hasidic Jews and others, who believed that the models were “playing dress-up.” People were also offended that the rabbis’ clothes were worn by women… . What I wanted to convey with this collection was the feeling these traditional costumes gave me, to pay tribute to their beauty. Many considered it one of my best collections, for the cuts, fabric, and for the idea.’ - Jean Paul Gaultier.
Scanned from The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk