Date : 1st Saturday, March 2014
Numéro, November 2013
Jean Paul Gaultier was born in France in 1952. Not interested in sports or any of the usual childhood pleasures, he was a prodigy when it came to fashion design. Young Gaultier designed a collection of clothing for his mother and grandmother at age 13. At age 15 he invented a coat with bookbag closures. When he reached the age of 17, he boldly sent his design sketches to Paris designer Pierre Cardin. Cardin appreciated his talents enough to hire the young man as design assistant. Gaultier worked for Cardin for two years. He then spent a year designing for Jacques Esterel before joining the House of Patou in Paris, working with designers Angelo Tarlazzi and Michael Goma for three years.
In 1976 several of Gaultier’s sketches were published in Mode Internationale, a French fashion magazine. The sketches were favorably received by the design world. That same year Gaultier launched his design career under his own label for a company called Mayagor, as well as continuing to design free-lance ready-to-wear furs, swimwear, and leather clothing.
When Kashiyama, a well-funded Japanese clothing manufacturing conglomerate, caught wind of Gaultier’s growing reputation, his career was launched. They signed him to an exclusive contract for men’s and women’s collections under his own name. Renowned as perhaps the most avant-garde fashion designer of his time, Gaultier was sometimes called the Prince of Perversity. He was known for keeping a keen winking eye on young London and New York street fashions, reinterpreting them with a dash of Parisian panache, then pushing them out on his runways. Some of his most recognizable cutting-edge designs are jackets, dresses, and jumpsuits with indiscreet cutouts that make the garments resemble cages. His unique designs also include dresses and tops with sliced open breasts and bralike torpedo inserts, fichu off-the-shoulder tops, multi-colored Lycra, vinyl and leather bike pants, and kilt-ish skirts for men.
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