Gigi Hadid is grateful to Jean Paul Gaultier for helping her land her big catwalk break after facing criticism over her body shape.
The model is now a go-to for top couturiers looking to showcase their looks on the runway, but when she first embarked on her career, Hadid's athletic figure didn't do her any favours - until she caught Gaultier's eye and scored a spot in his 2014 show in Paris.
"He was the first designer that let me walk on a runway in Paris, it was in his last ready-to-wear show," she told 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."
Hadid recalled how Gaultier celebrated her slender form, instead of trying to hide it.
"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 (in) something that really covered my body," the 24-year-old added. "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 walked for the French designer during his last-ever haute couture catwalk show during Paris Couture Week in January. Gaultier had announced his plans to retire days before the presentation.
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