Published on July 11th, 2014 | by Isabelle Karamooz, Founder of FQM


The iconic French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier

The exhibition “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, from the Sidewalk to the Catwalk,” dedicated to French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, ended on February 23, 2014 at the “Brooklyn Museum” New York, but returns to the scene at the “Barbican Art Gallery” in London from April 9 to August 17, 2014.

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Barbican – The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. Photo by Teatimeinwonderland

Photos, sketches, stage costumes, excerpts from parades, films, concerts and dance performances, are all elements presented that enable us to better understand the influences and the path of this exceptional designer.

The beginnings of the French designer
Born into a modest family, Jean-Paul Gaultier discovered a passion for fashion at a early age. The only child of a mother who was a cashier and an accountant father, the boy avoided school, preferring to take refuge with his grandmother where he devoured fashion magazines. There, he enjoyed doing fashion makeovers on his teddy bears. And yes, the teddy bears were the first models of the great couturier !

At fifteen, fascinated by « Falbalas » a film by Jean Becker, he has a revelation. He decided to become a fashion designer! He sent his sketches to Pierre Cardin who was impressed by the precocious young man and hired him in 1970. He was then only 18 years old.

Then, he worked alongside Jacques Esterel and Jean Patou, before creating his own couture house. In 1976, he launched his first collection at the Palais de la Découverte, but it was a total flop. Jean-Paul then planned to give up, but after a few years of doubt, his brand took off in the 80s thanks to the financial support of the Kashiyama group.

Barbican – The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. Photo by Blog Express

 After that, everything went very quickly. In 1983, he presented his first corset dresses. Then, it was the skirt for men (1985) and his famous blue sailor suit that presented the mix of feminine / masculine genders.

In the 90s, Jean-Paul Gaultier diversified his business. He launched various perfumes, accessories and jewelries that immediately meet with great success. Meanwhile, the designer has continued to expand his work as a stylist. After the first line of jeans, he launched the collection “JPG” in 1994, a unisex line of trendy sportswear offered at low prices. But the most crucial time of his career was in 1997 when JPG entered into the close circle of haute couture. Now fully recognized by his peers, he designed from 2004 to 2010 a collection of ready-to-wear Hermes that holds a 35% stake in his brand.

Today, after a career spanning more than 35 years, the French designer is still at the top of his game. As he has been endowed with so much talent and positive human qualities, many exhibitions have been dedicated to the man and his work.

His work is a blend of creativity and interactivity that I invite you not to miss !

About the Author

was born in the royal city of Versailles, France and have lived in the United States since 1996. After earning a Bachelor's degree in History from the University of California Berkeley and studying for a Master program in education at the University of Southern California, she went on to teach French to aspiring UNLV and CSN students in Nevada. When she is not teaching, she is writing, interviewing people in a wide range of circumstances, pitching story ideas to writers and editors, taking pictures, traveling, painting or trying delicious foods.

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