Jean-Paul Gaultier: Tributes for fashion legend as he calls time on 50-year career with flamboyant show

Tributes have poured in for trailblazing fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier as he signed off his 50-year career in style with a show in Paris.

The enfant terrible of French fashion presented a typically flamboyant spectacle on Wednesday evening at the Theatre du Chatelet, where top models and stars witnessed Gaultier's final show.

Naomi Campbell described working with him as an "absolute honour and pleasure" and hailed him a "creative visionary".

Coco Rocha tweeted: "My dear friend @JPGaultier is celebrating 50 years in fashion tomorrow and also his final couture show which - I won’t lie - came as an incredible shock to me.

"As I look back over an amazing 15 years I’ve enjoyed working with him I’m only posting JPG videos for the next 24 hours!"

Gaultier has worked with many A-list celebrities, including Beyonce, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga.

The show was typically flamboyant. Credit: AP

However, it was a bustier that first made him a household name in the United States – specifically one a certain pop star from Michigan named Madonna wore on her "Blond Ambition" tour in 1990.

He designed countless performance and tour looks for her, including her famous cone bra from the early 90s.

Gaultier was considered a pioneer in many ways — from mixing genders on the catwalk to integrating street fashion into his collections to creating high-end ready to wear.

Jean Paul Gaultier designed Madonna's famous cone bra. Credit: AP

Top models current and past included Gigi and Bella Hadid, Karlie Kloss, Farida Khelfa, Coco Rocha, Anna Cleveland and Winnie Harlow at his show on Wednesday.

Also on the runway were Spanish actress Rossy de Palma, French singer Mylène Farmer, burlesque performer Dita Von Teese, conceptual art character Pandemonia, French actress Béatrice Dalle smoking a cigarette, and a number of male and gender fluid models.

Critic Godfrey Deeny describes Gaultier as the "founding father" of transgressive fashion.

Jean Paul Gaultier was considered a trailblazer. Credit: AP

He said: "The idea of… using women's underwear, menswear, you know, cross dressing, the breaking down of those coats, he invented that whole thing in fashion before anyone.

"You know, all the stuff you see nowadays, it's a legacy of his revolutionary ideas."

After founding his eponymous label in 1982, Gaultier shocked the fashion industry by introducing man-skirts and kilts to menswear.

He became known as a designer who fused gender identity and empowered women.

One of Jean-Paul Gaultier's earlier designs from the 1990's. Credit: AP

"He resonates with me specifically because I feel like he's such a rebel in the fashion industry," says model and drag queen, Violet Chachki.

"We have this like Catholicism thing going and we both love corsets so he's a designer that's always really resonated with me. And it's also nice because he's always been visibly queer."

One from Jean-Paul Gaultier's ready to wear spring-summer 2011 fashion collection. Credit: AP

Gaultier has always embraced the different, preferring tattooed, bald, curvy and androgynous models to stick-thin blondes.

"It's always an adventure with Jean Paul," smiles model and longtime muse, Farida Khelfa.

"I love him. But it's another chapter in his life."