Gigi Hadid credits Jean Paul Gaultier for early runway success

Gigi Hadid walking in Jean Paul Gaultier's final show in January

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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