JEAN PAUL GAULTIER - ENFANT TERRIBLE
FROM VINTAGE TO POLITICS
When talking about Jean Paul Gaultier, known also, and not by chance, as fashion’s Enfant Terrible, talking about upheavel is more appropriate than talking about fashion. From men skirts, to striped Breton t-shirts, to various re-interpretations of the corset including the one with the cone-shaped breasts drawn for Madonna, the most ironic and transversal designer is credited with having literally flipped the concept of style over.
Owning a vintage Jean Paul Gaultier item means tributing the ironic side of fashion, and also some of its political aspects.
Self-taught and raised in the outskirts of Paris, instead of studying fashion Gaultier sent his sketches directly to the designers. The first one to notice his talent was Pierre Cardin who hired him as an assistant.
In 1976, Gaultier created his own label, presenting his first womenswear collection in Paris during a bold and original show that felt more like a theater performance than like a catwalk.
With the 1980s, Gaultier became more and more prominent and his style became increasingly irreverent. While LGBTQI+ pride, genderless, and gender fluid still stun several noses, and catwalks were parades of stereotypical beauties, Gaultier brought diversity on the runway, choosing unconventional models, elderly people, oversize people, men and women covered in piercings and tattoos, and transgender. From kilt to men make-up, his first collection of men’s prêt-à-porter, with the emblematic title "The man-object", offered him new territories of irony and innovation, while his unisex collection "A wardrobe for two" showed his commitment to breaking down gender barriers.
JEAN PAUL GAULTIER’S MUSES
The Nineties were Jean-Paul Gaultier's most successful years. He embarked on a thriving collaboration with the world of film, designing garments for several movies including Luc Besson’s "The Fifth Element", Pedro Almodóvar’s "Kika-A Borrowed Body" and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s "The Lost City".
He also became the most iconic designer of the pop world, designing for Madonna the black leotard worn in the Vogue video as well as all the costumes for the Blond Ambition Tour, including the iconic corset with cone-shaped breasts.
Among his models and muses there are Beth Ditto, Amanda Lear, Conchita Wurst, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue and Rihanna, but also more classic beauties like Catherine Deneuve, Marion Cotillard, Naomi Campbel and Carla Bruni, with whom the designer enjoyed collaborating by highlighting their less conventional aspects.
Officially retired from the scene a few years ago, the designer continues to shock and entertain by participating in tv shows and organizing theatrical performances which can be described as somewhere in between the Freak Show and the Folies Bergère, in pure Jean Paul Gaultier style.