Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Happy Birthday to Fashion Designer Jean-Paul Gaultier

Jean-Paul Gaultier was born today, April 24, 1952. He is a French haute couture and prêt-à-porter fashion designer. He was the creative director of Hermès from 2003 to 2010. He co-presented the television series Eurotrash with Antoine de Caunes.

Gaultier grew up in the suburb of Paris. It was his maternal grandmother, Marie Garrabe, who introduced him to the world of fashion. He never received formal training as a designer. Instead, he started sending sketches to famous couture stylists at an early age. Pierre Cardin was impressed by his talent and hired him as an assistant in 1970. Afterward he worked with Jacques Esterel in 1971 and Jean Patou later that year, then returning to manage the Pierre Cardin boutique in Manila for a year in 1974.

His first individual collection was released in 1976, and his characteristic irreverent style dating from 1981 has led to his being known as the enfant terrible of French fashion. Many of Gaultier's subsequent collections have been based on street wear, focusing on popular culture, whereas others, particularly his haute couture collections, are very formal, yet at the same time unusual and playful.

Although most people found his designs decadent at the time, fashion editors, notably Melka Tréanton of Elle, Claude Brouet and Catherine Lardeur of French Marie Claire, were impressed by his creativity and mastery of tailoring, and later launched his career.

In 1985, he introduced man-skirts and promoted their use, especially kilts, in men's wardrobe, and the release of designer collections. Gaultier has also worked in close collaboration with Wolford Hosiery.

Gaultier caused shock by using unconventional models for his exhibitions, like older men and full-figured women, pierced and heavily tattooed models, and by playing with traditional gender roles in the shows. This earned him both criticism and enormous popularity.

At the end of the 1980s, Gaultier suffered some personal losses, including his boyfriend and business partner Francis Menuge (1975 - August 1990), who died of AIDS-related causes.

In 1988 Gaultier released a dance single titled "How To Do That" on Fontana Records, from which came one of the first ever "single title" remix albums, Aow Tou Dou Zat. The album includes mixes by Norman Cook, J. J. Jeczalik, George Shilling, Mark Saunders, Latin Rascals, David Dorrell, Tim Atkins, Carl Atkins, and Kurtis Mantronik.

Starting in 1993, he co-hosted the Channel 4 program Eurotrash,  
a 30-minute magazine-format program in English with Antoine de Caunes. Gaultier co-hosted the show until 1997.

In 2011, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Maison Jean Paul Gaultier organized a retrospective exhibit, "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk." That exhibit is on tour with venues at the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design  in Stockholm, the Brooklyn Museum in New York City, the Barbican Centre in London, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, and the Grand Palais in Paris. The exhibition in Paris, which took place from April to August 2015, was the subject of a documentary called Jean Paul Gaultier at the Grand Palais aired exclusively on Eurochannel.

The "granny gray" hair color trend is attributed to Gaultier, whose autumn/winter 2011 show featured models in grey beehives. In the spring of 2015, his catwalk show at Paris Fashion Week featured silver-haired models again, as did the shows of other fashion designers, Chanel and Gareth Pugh. The trend soon took off among celebrities and the general public.

Gaultier produced sculptured costumes for Madonna during the nineties, starting with her infamous cone bra for her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour, and designed the wardrobe for her 2006 Confessions Tour.

He has designed many red carpet outfits for artists such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Beyoncé. His designs have also been worn by Nicki Minaj in numerous occasions.

Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, and Fergie have also worn his designs throughout the years. He also designed the dress Katy Perry wore at a Vanity Fair after-party in early 2017.

Gaultier designed the wardrobe for many motion pictures, including The Fifth Element, Bad EducationThe Skin I Live In; and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.

Jean-Paul Gaultier licenses a line of perfumes in collaboration with the Puig company. The first fragrance, Classique, a women's floral-oriental, was introduced in 1993, followed by Le Mâle for men two years later. Both were highly successful, and in 2012, Le Mâle was the number-one men's fragrance in the European Union based on sales; it also held a strong market position in Australia and the United States.

The third fragrance, the women's fragrance Fragile, was introduced in 2000; however, it is now in limited distribution due to poor sales. In 2005, the unisex "fragrance for humanity" Gaultier² (pronounced "Gaultier to the power of two") was launched (except in Canada, where it was launched in January 2006, and the United States, where it was launched in August 2006). A men's fragrance, Fleur du Mâle was launched in April 2007. Shortly thereafter, the Eau de Cologne Fleur du Mâle was released, demonstrating a lighter version of the scent. Another addition is the women's fragrance Ma Dame.

1 comment:

Raybeard said...

He was good on TV's 'Eurotrash' - though he's always maintained ever since that his appearances there were a serious mistake. They weren't. I still miss the programme.

Only last month I re-watched my old video of 'The Cook, the Thief....etc', the first time I've seen it (out of several times - I love the film) since becoming aware of his input. His fashion contributions were brilliant.