Gigi Hadid is grateful to iconic fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier for helping her land her big catwalk break after facing criticism for her lack of a “runway body”.
The supermodel is now a go-to for top couturiers looking to showcase their looks on the runway, but when she first embarked on her career, the 24-year old’s athletic figure didn’t do her any favors – until she caught Gaultier’s eye and scored a spot in his 2014 show in Paris, France.
“He was the first designer that let me walk on a runway in Paris, it was in his last ready-to-wear show,” Hadid tells i-D magazine.
“At the time I was still starting out in my career, I was coming out of high school, I still had my volleyball body. It was a body that I loved. I knew how hard I worked to have those muscles, to be curved in those places – I kind of miss it now. At the time, people were hard on me and tried to say that I didn’t have a runway body.”
And Hadid recalls Gaultier celebrated her slender form, instead of trying to hide it.
“So for Jean Paul to have me at his last ready-to-wear show… not only to have me, but also to put me in an outfit that didn’t cover a lot… like, there were still stylists or designers at that time who were putting me in their shows, but putting me something that really covered my body,” she adds. “And so for him to make me feel like he wanted me to shine in that way, it really meant a lot to me as a young model. And I know that he has done that for a lot of people.”
Hadid’s high praise for the now-retired Frenchman comes weeks after he staged his final runway show during Paris Fashion Week last month (January 2020).