Intro

Jean Bousquet is a living and breathing King of fashion. Though the name of the fashion designer may not evoke much of a response to the younger generation, Jean Bousquet was a visionary that captured the roaring 60’s and its mood perfectly. Almost everyone was wearing his designs which were light, feminine, and full of color and floral. With a brand that spans over 60 years and an empire that has become famous around the world, Jean Bousquet is a true inspiration for fashion designers to come.

Life

Jean Bousquet was born on the 30th of March, 1932, in Nimes. Growing up in a world where World War 2 was looming on everyone’s doorsteps, Bosquet took a keen interest in observing soldiers of the regiment artillery up until the age of ten. His reason for doing this was because his father was sent to the first World War in the navy, and was one of seventy survivors of the French battleship The Bouvet, which sunk in the Dardanelles in 1915. His brother was sent off to fight in World War 2.

As a young teenager, the war was still looming and instead of studying the soldiers he decided to study as a master tailor. This opportunity allowed him to serve military time, where he performed tailoring duties at the Nimes Air Base. Later, he was recalled to serve in Algeria and states that this period of his life allowed him to gain a whole new perspective on the world, the different cultures, and styles of fashion even during the war and post.

With a bloom love and passion for creating and designing clothes, he embarked on a journey that would lead him to create one of the most famous brand names of the 60’s, and change the way women viewed themselves fashion-wise.

Education

Before and during the war, when Jean Bousquet was growing up, he studied at the Technical School of Nimes until he began his apprenticeship with the clever Milagre. Bosquet holds Milagre in high regards till this day, saying he was one of the best seamstresses in Nimes.

After he completed his education and apprenticeship with Milagre, he traveled to Algeria where he lived his teenage years in a maid’s room, sewing and tailoring clothing. In 1958, the famous brand of Cacharel was born, and little did Jean Bousquet know, it would become a smashing success in little than three years.

Career

Jean Bousquet was destined to have a bright future in the fashion industry as he was one of the only designers at the time to see a fashion future beyond the old clientele of the past. He foresaw an emerging nouvelle riche and a market that was fashion conscious. What inspired him the most to make a move and create the brand Cacharel was the youth of the 50’s and 60’s, and the vision they represented in his creative thoughts.

It was therefore that the famous and much sought after brand of Cacharel was born. It was a time that Bousquet has never forgotten, and states:

“Yes, Cacharel was born in 1958 very exactly. I remind you that the mark represents a Camargue bird, that’s what gave me the idea of ​​the name of the brand. The beginning of this adventure was extraordinary because it came at the same time as the cultural revolution of the 60s and 70s.”

Creating the brand of Cacharel and lifting it off the ground was not a smooth process. During the period of its launch, Bousquet worked with a number of extremely talented individuals from Robert Delpire, Gerard Grandval, and Sarah Moon. However, before those names came to be involved in the brand, it began with his sister-in-law, Corinne Sarrut. Corinne studied at the Beaux-Arts School in France, and Bousquet asked her to help him draw up his ideas that would soon turn into his collections. It was Corinne, as well, that introduced him to Sarah Moon, and so a collaboration and creative team were formed that helped shape the brand for the first two decades of its life.

Jean Bousquet became a true and established designer in the 1960’s when Cacharel really took off amongst the consumers. His fitted, printed, and striped clothing for women became a “must have” amongst all the women. By the end of the decade, French women were no longer walking into stores and asking for a shirt, they were specifically asking for “Cacharel.” What made Bosquet so popular amongst the women was something that other designers had not yet achieved; a shirt that was actually flattering to women and comfortable to wear.

Jean Bousquet created a career that was centered around a young, French, and sporty feel that was colorful, wearable, and not to mention pretty. The success and highlight of his career came when in 1965 when the brand Cacharel began working with Liberty of London. They loved his designs so much that he rescaled and recolored all of the brand’s traditional floral prints so that they would appeal to women as more flattering. These prints were branded as frumpy and homely before Bousquet came in and took over. It was because of this and the success that Bousquet brought to Liberty of London that they chose to stock his brand, Cacharel, for decades to come.

With his brand doing well, Bousquet entered the world of politics and was the Mayor of Nimes, his birth town, from 1983 to 1995, taking leave from the fashion powerhouse he worked too hard to build.

In 1996, however, the company saw a difficult time ahead as it was on trial for misdeeds. Jean Bousquet was convicted and was fined and sentenced to one year in jail, as well as a year of probation following his release. Such a turn of events took a harsh beating on Bousquets career, and the fashion label shut down for a period of time after 2008.  

As of 2016, however, the brand and Bousquets career started to make a comeback for the better on the front stage of the fashion industry, with the brand opening up 7 stores in one year.

Today, they are focusing more on their collections and how they can best represent what the brand of Cacharel meant in the past, and how to best capture the modernization of the youth today.

Collection

Jean Bousquet always had a strong vision in mind when it came to his brand and his collections of clothing. He states:

“Cacharel stands for well-made, feminine designs that are worn by confident women who like to experiment with fashion without becoming a slave to the trends of the day,” says CEO and founder Jean Bousquet. “As a ready-to-wear brand, we are positioned between the luxury sector and the mass market. The brand stands for high quality at affordable prices.”

Famous for his feminine and chic style throughout the 60’s all the way up to the 80’s, as well as his floral prints and easy to wear clothing, 2012 saw a change in his collections as this was the start of a major comeback in 2016. He states:

“We needed to respond to the growing demand by creating a contemporary collection that is modern and creative with a touch of romanticism at an accessible price point.”

With the brand back on track and going strong, Jean Bousquet has a new vision for his collections. With the goal to opt for a strong throwback to the 60’s where the brand was just getting started but attract millennials of today by creating a sporty city look, Cacharel has a new direction to follow. The brand envisions draped dresses and baseball caps, red jeans and striped suits, stretchy jerseys that hug curves, and most importantly, affordable clothing.

Jean Bousquet is looking forward to his latest collection, stating that the modern market is much easier to understand that it was in the 60’s.

“It’s much easier to have young people with talent and to give them a railroad. For us, it’s easier, since the brand has been around for 50 years and these creators know at least part of its history. And then there is an atmosphere: this youth who is there, who made the big schools, internships in big houses, they are quality people, necessarily. They are the creators of tomorrow.”

Interesting Facts About Jean Bousquet

1. Upon the launch of the famous brand Cacharel, Jean Bousquet was heavily influenced by James Dean, the Beatles, Pop Art, and the growing popularization of Mary Quant’s mini skirt.

2. Over the 60 years that Cacharel has been up and running, Jean Bosquet has worked with a number of big names in the business, but his fondest memories come from working with designers right at the beginning of it all. He states, “To create the brand image of Cacharel, I have worked with talented individuals such as Robert Delpire, Sarah Moon, and Gerard Grandval.”

3. Although the brand was well-known in the 60’s, Jean Bousquet struggled to bring it in to the modern age. There was a growing demand for clothes from the Cacharel brand that represented the current era and the youth. His response to this demand was, “We needed to respond to the growing demand by creating a contemporary collection that is modern and creative with a touch of romanticism at an accessible price point.”

4. The company saw a massive change when it moved its headquarters and showroom to the famous Rive Gauche in Paris. This particular place is known for its artistic creativity and the freedom to express yourself. Regarding the move, Jean Bousquet states, “We see the move as symbolic of our spontaneous and impulsive creativity, both today and in the future,” says Mr. Bousquet. “It is a promise of new emotions and a new look.”

5. Jean Bousquet states that the modern world is vastly different from when he started the brand in the late 50’s early 60’s. The women have changed and it has somewhat become simpler. He states, “There are 40-year-olds who dress more ‘young’ than 20-year-olds and vice-versa. But it is indeed a very important clientele, who wants fashion, want to create. You have to give him something portable. So obviously, the mass market is also portable, but it is a little simpler and a little less creative.”

Jean Bousquet has had an interesting career of ups and downs. Most notably, the best period in his fashion career was during the 60’s when he reinvented women’s clothing and the use of color and floral prints. Though he had a rocky few years entering the modern age, the brand of Cacharel is making a strong comeback as it is capturing a new style for the millennials whilst also staying true to what made the brand so popular in the first place. Jean Bousquet is a king of fashion and a creative genius who has much more to tell and express through his clothing in the years to come.