meet the world’s biggest collector of jean paul gaultier
Goncalo Velosa, of designer clothing boutique House of Liza, has dedicated the last 28 years to unearthing the designer’s best pieces.
Photography Meinke Klein. Courtesy of House of Liza
Joker, genius, designer and presenter, over the past four decades Jean Paul Gaultier has become one of the most beloved figures of the fashion industry. After meeting him at his Parisian atelier for our latest episode of i-Cons, we wanted to get closer to those who knew most about him and his gender-defying, and genre-exploding designs. One such person is Goncalo Velosa, of House of Liza -- a London based archive and retailer of vintage designer finds. Goncalo is an expert on all things JPG, buying his first piece in 1989. He has continued to collect Jean Paul’s work throughout his life and shows no signs in giving up in his hunt for the most iconic pieces. We asked him more about his obsession and the stories behind his favourite pieces.
When did the House of Liza begin and how did it come about?
My obsession for collecting clothes started in the late 80s, when I lived between Porto and Paris. During those times I got involved in the whole clubbing and music scenes of which fashion was intrinsically entwined with. I have been collecting to the point of which I had to start selling some of my pieces in order to buy new ones, so I became a vintage dealer I guess. In 2009, three years after moving to London, I started House of Liza.
What’s the first piece of Gautier you remember buying?
In 1989, I bought my first ever Junior Gaultier pieces: a cage jacket and a pair of matching denim trousers from his summer 1989 collection Voyage autour du Monde en 186 tenues. Those I got from a fashion victim that I knew was broke! Some months later I bought a couple of tops from his Junior Gaultier shop at the Rue du Jour in Paris. A year later I managed to find enough cash for a jacket from his main line. That one I got from his shop at Galerie Vivienne. I lost that jacket last year, 27 years later!
What are your favourite Junior Gaultier pieces in the archive?
A faux snake, silver jacket from the autumn/winter 90 collection Les Pied Nickelés. I used to have that exact same jacket and I wore it as my second skin during the 90s, until it fell apart… A few years ago I managed to trace the same one!
Do you think Jean Paul Gaultier’s work continues to influence fashion today?
More than ever! Just look at any collection around today and you will see his influence. He never took himself too seriously or lost touch with what was happening in real life. He used camp humour and extreme aesthetics to challenge ideas of sexual orientation, gender and beauty. But we take his philosophical and political messages seriously because of the level of craftsmanship and sophistication in his collections. Like his mentor Pierre Cardin, his work reminds us that you can find your own path.
Do you have one favourite Gaultier collection and why?
There are so many to choose from, it’s impossible to choose just one! The styling was so great in all of them. Alongside Galliano, he is the best stylist around. The man knows how to put clothes together.
But the 1990 show Les Rap’Pieuses is still one of my favourites. At that time it was quite naughty, you had models coming up through the floor on turntables dressed as nuns (Neneh Cherry was one of them). The show was daring and his first homage to religion, but the clothes were fantastic -- very wearable and classic!
What is the one piece you could never bare to sell?
Is there one piece you are still hunting down for your collection?
I have a list!