Jean-Charles de Castelbajac was born in 1950 in Casablanca, Morocco. He moved to France with his family in the mid-50's.
His simple enveloping clothes remain true to the uncut cloth. Thick, felt-like fabrics have preoccupied him since him as at boarding school, when he cut his first garment out of a blanket.
In 1968, Castelbajac began designing for his mother, who had her own clothing business. Soon after he created several lines for Paris manufacturer Pierre D'Alby. He opened his own business in 1975 and immediately achieved fame.
He was one of France's new ages of ready-to-wear designers and worked with Pop Art themes such as Andy Warhol's Soup can painting, which he printed onto a cylindrical dress in 1984.
He was also inspired by the work of designers Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin, on the theme of Futurism and has designed Space Age collections. Also in 1984, he designed a dress made of heavy denim material with the front shaped and painted like the crotch opening of a pair of blue jeans.
While continuing to design under his own name, he simultaneously created Sportmax for the Italian house of Max Mara.
He mixed his personal life and his interest in movies, music, art and the environment with his clothing design. Castelbajac, has created many clothes featuring printed logos, messages or images. He is famous for his chic yet rugged daywear and also for his hand-painted fabrics which did much to influence the "wearable art" garments popular during the 80's.
While continuing his own label, he also started designing for the Paris house of Andres Courreges in the mid-90's.
In 1997, Castelbajac designed garments for the Pope and senior ecclesiastical members of the Vatican.
Protection and security was the guiding concept of Castelbajac's winter 99/2000 collection, which was entitled "State of Emergency" and was held in a Paris metro station. It featured protective clothing like padded coats that looked like military sleeping bags, and hats like those worn by the UN Security forces.
His Fall 2002 menswear collection was held on an ice rink outside the City Hall in Paris. He had his models on skates in huge oversized clothing, which should please all those heading for the Alpine ski slopes.
During Paris Fashion Week in October 2005 Jean-Charles exhibited his new line of Eyewear, as his Vauvilliers Studio. There was quite a gathering to see the new shapes he is now offering.
His designs are functional, modernist, high-tech clothing. As a foil to the clearly defined structure of his designs, he uses natural fabrics and fibres. He lengthened the ski jacket to make a quilted coat which became widely copied.