'Rubans' Ribbonwork & Tulle Slip By Jean Paul Gaultier For La Perla

'Rubans' Ribbonwork & Tulle Slip By Jean Paul Gaultier For La Perla, c. 2012, Italy. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice.

Date: 2012, created for SS13

Origin: Italy

Fabric: Silk and nylon tulle

Brand: Jean Paul Gaultier for La Perla


A dress that straddles the boundaries between underwear and outer clothing, with detchable layers allowing for versatile styling. The bra style cups are structured with molded foam and underwires, the silhouette reminscent of c. 1950s overwire bras. A deep wire separator gives a dramatic plunging neckline to the garment. The outer body of the garment is formed of fine black tulle, with the body embroidered with machine stitched ribbonwork. The ribbonwork appears to have been applied mostly freehand, forming organic patterns across the waistline and bust. The bottom of the skirt panel is embellished with ribbonwork floral motifs and textured rosettes.

The dress has an interior silk half slip to provide some opacity which can be removed with button fastenings at the side seams. The garment fastens with an invisible zip at the centre back, and the shoulder straps are detachable with enamelled hooks and can be worn strapless. This design was featured in the S/S2013 Jean Paul Gaultier catwalk show.

This garment is from the ‘Rubans’ range (which translates as ‘ribbons’) of the Créateur collection, a collaboration between French couturier Jean Paul Gaultier and heritage luxury lingerie house La Perla. The collaboration was launched to the market in 2010 to great critical acclaim at a particularly high price point, with this particular dress retailing at $1850. The dress was also styled as part of Gaultier’s couture catwalk show in Paris for that season. Garments in this range were available in two colourways: beige and black. The collection was particularly noteworthy for its use of intricate and time consuming embellishment techniques, many of which are rarely used in contemporary design.

Jean Paul Gaultier founded his eponymous label in 1977 in Paris, France, and soon became renowned as the ‘Enfant Terrible’ of French fashion for his daring and playful approach to design. The label encompasses a fashion empire that covers haute couture, ready to wear, eyewear and perfume. Many of his designs have been strongly influenced by historical lingerie designs, with famous silhouettes including dramatically shaped corsetry and exagerrated bullet bras. The designer has collaborated on a number of ‘ready to wear’ projects, including with the label Wolford in the late 1990s, and with La Perla in the early 2010s.

La Perla was founded in 1954 in Bologna, Italy, by master corsetmaker Ada Masotti. The brand’s name (‘the pearl’) came from the decision to present lingerie as fine jewellery, with the associations of luxury and femininity. The first brand collections were even presented in velvet-lined boxes. The brand treated lingerie as a fashion accessory rather than simply a clothing necessity, using fine fabrics such as French leavers laces, and silks.


From the collection of Karolina Laskowska

Museum number: KL-2018-031


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