Jean Paul Gaultier: Theatre of Glamour


If you crave haute couture that provokes, titillates and luxuriates at the same time. Jean Paul Gaultier is your man.

Born 24th April 1952 in Val-de-Marne, France. Gaultier discovered the beauty of the female form and fetishism thanks to his grandmother’s corseted routine. Despite receiving no formal training, Pierre Cardin was impressed by Gaultier’s sketches and hired him as his assistant in 1970. Between 1971-1972, he worked for Jean Patou and Jean Esterel. He returned to Cardin to manage his store in Manila in 1974 (he even designed clothes for Imelda Marcos). Even though his debut collection was unveiled in 1976; it was not until 1981 that Gaultier defined his signature style.

Gaultier caused controversy and acclaim when he collaborated with Madonna on her ‘Blonde Ambition’ tour. It is worth noting when he worked with Madonna, it was during the early 90’s. This was a period of time when she was provoking the masses with frank sexuality, plus she trying to showcase a more sophisticated and gay friendly image.

Other noted collaborations include Marilyn Manson, Dita Von Teese, Mylene Farmer and Kylie Minogue. Not only has Gaultier has worked as a costume designer for films such as ‘The Fifth Element’, ‘Kika’ and ‘The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover’. Gaultier was also creative director of Hermes from 2003-2010, rather appropriate since Hermes is a leather specialist and Gaultier is fond of fetishism in high fashion.

What sets Gaultier apart from other designers is not only his bold choices of clothes; it is also his choice of runway models. While virtually all designers choose the same tall and skinny teenagers, Gaultier has chosen The Gossips’ Beth Ditto (a Rubenesque singer), older men and models who are pierced and tattooed. That does not even include his play on gender stereotypes. In addition to being an avant grade haute couture designer, Gaultier presented the ultimate in late 90’s, late night tacky, trashy television ‘Eurotrash’. As a young teen at the time, it was a badge of honour to be able to stay up late enough to catch the carnage.

Notoriously selective about who wears his clothes for red carpet events; Gaultier is not a publicity whore who is desperate for the validation of the masses. Why? Because he is  secure in his success and his work. What need is there to water yourself down or spread yourself thin?

Being choosy, true to yourself and dressing well. What more could you ask for?

JPG for Hermes

JPG corset type

Madonna fetish Gaultier

JPG black gown

men suit

JPG Winehouse style


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