Jean Paul Gaultier: Farewell to a Legend
March 3, 2020
Hey there! Jelly here with another burning topic that I feel most are talking about. That is the retirement of Jean Paul Gaultier. It is always sad to see someone go, especially someone like Jean Paul who leaves an amazing legacy of jaw dropping awe inspiring designs behind him. If you are not familiar with the legendary designer Jean Paul Gaultier, he was the designer of the infamous conical bra worn By Madonna on her Blonde Ambition tour in the 1990’s. Honestly, who could forget that design or the way it was styled! Designs like these would make Gaultier one of the most influential designers of the 1990’s and early 2000’s.
Jean Paul Gaultier developed his taste for fashion as a small kid while watching television and devouring fashion magazines. He spent a lot of his free time with his grandmother and developed a fascination for her clothing, in particular, her corsets. At some point he even designed a bra for his teddy bear.
When Gaultier was 18 he landed his very first job with designer Pierre Cardin designing formal wear. In 1970 Gaultier started his career as an assistant for Cardin and later for Jean Patou. Gaultier created his own brand in 1976, and held his first show in Paris, but his house wasn’t officially launched until 1982. Jean Paul quickly took on the bad boy image in the fashion industry with his bold concept and designs. A partnership between Jean Paul and the French House Hermes was born in 1999. Gaultier served as the artistic director of Hermes while continuing to work on his own brand. Gaultier worked for Hermes until 2011. He really set the bar high for future designers and created waves with concepts and designs that touched on culturally subversive subjects.
Not only was he a couturier but took up the mantle of a costumier by designing over 100 character enhancing costumes for with legendary futuristic Scifi movie ‘The Fifth Element’. Seriously one of my all time favorite movies!!
The movie in itself was next level, with the storyline set in a future where humans live among aliens and enjoyed interstellar vacations. Jean Paul Gaultier’s costume design brought the characters to life and rounded out the theatrical setting. The main character Leelo, played by Milla Jovovich, serves up look after look as she wears the unforgettable white crossbody strap bodysuit. Jean Paul created looks with lots of skin as some of the characters wear highly sexual body conscious outfits.
One major contribution I feel Gaultier made to the fashion industry was the normalization of people’s individuality, no matter their race, size, or gender. Some of Jean Paul Gaultier earlier work experimented with the concept of hyper-androgyny and the mixing of gender roles in his designs represented by tattoos and piercings, and even a take on religion.
While Jean Paul Gaultier brought a contemporary outlook to the fashion industry, some designs and concepts were criticized as offensive. His 1994 collection, ‘ Chic Rabbis’, was his most controversial culture-blending and gender-bending collection. Chic Rabbis was said to be offensive due to the religious clothing being worn as costumes on the catwalk. The most offensive concept was that of women in rabbinic clothing since female rabbis are not allowed in the Hasidic religion.
His controversial collections, his ability to think beyond the societal norms, and his bad boy persona is really what set him apart from other designers during this time period. He also almost seemed to be fearless with the risks he took by exploring ideas and creating pieces inspired by concepts most people were afraid to talk about openly. For example diversity in the fashion industry, inclusion of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender fluidity on the runway.
Gaultier really wanted his last show to be more like a celebration, so he went out with a BANG with a grand finale of 200 plus looks. Jean Paul Gaultier’s last show was one for history to remember featuring iconic faces such as Coco Rocha, Gigi Hadid, and Paris Jackson. Diversity in size, age, and culture were also major aspects of the show. There was even a recreation of iconic silhouettes from the past, such as the cone-shaped bra.
Gaultier talks about the importance of inclusion and how it is a huge part of his brand. The final Couture collection featured designs that played with gender fluidity by placing men in dresses and corseted pieces styled in suits. Inspiration from the artist Frida Kahlo can also be spotted in a few of the bondage style looks and dresses.
Overall the show was a beautiful depiction of his career as a designer. Jean was able to add in the concept of mixed textures, Ruffles, layers, prints, patterns that scream in your face, all while keeping the couture aspect.
Girl you know the drill! It’s the end of the post and it is time for you girl to say see ya later. I really hope you enjoyed reading this article, because I really enjoy the research behind it. Make sure you subscribe to the newsletter to stay up to date with the latest releases of The Aesthetik clothing and weekly blog post. If you are curious about more info related to today’s post, check out the links below. Until next time, It’s ya girl Jelly signing off.
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Jelicia Lloyd lives in the middle of Nowhere, Texas, but her mind and creativity are always in tune with exotic places where fashion happens. She is a recent fashion graduate who freelances as a patternmaker and blog writer to further her career in fashion.