Tuesday, May 15, 2007
JEAN PAUL GAULTIER
Where some designers aim to bring high fashion to the everyday, Jean Paul Gaultier propels it to the realm of art, fantasy, and surrealism. Taking his inspiration from city streets and club scenes, Gaultier has managed to touch on such themes as kitsch, fetishism, futurism, and '40s French sailor suits in his collections, ever since his electronic jewelry debut in 1976 with Francis Menuge. His fanciful visions have made him an obvious collaborator for film, and he's designed costumes for directors Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet ("The City of Lost Children"), Pedro Almodovar ("Kika"), Luc Besson ("The Fifth Element"), and more. Perhaps his most famous contribution to modern fashion was his reinvention of underwear as outerwear in the design of Madonna's unforgettable cone bustier, which she flaunted onstage for her 1990 "Blond Ambition" tour.
The titles of his collections are also provocative and became key dates in fashion. Examples are High Tech (1980) featuring tin can jewels; Dadism (1983) corsets; Barbes (1985) cross breeding and culture shocks; A Wardrobe for Two (1985) androgynism; Untitled Collection (1987) constructivism; The Conceirge Is In The Staircase (1988) Parisian masculine feminine; The Chics Rabbi (1993) homage to the Jewish people; The Tatooings (1994) romanticism and spirituality.
In 1997, he entered the sphere of high fashion when he launched his first haute couture collection and became a full member of the Chambre Syndicale dela Haute Couture.
Already well-known in the fashion world, he became a household word in the U.S. when he designed the costumes for Bruce Willis and Milla Vulkovich in the movie "The Fifth Element" in 1995.