JEAN PAUL GAULTIER The Enfant Terrible of Fashion and Perfume

JEAN PAUL GAULTIER The Enfant Terrible of Fashion and Perfume

Born in 1952, Jean Paul Gaultier became famous as the “enfant terrible” of the fashion world.
Best known for his extraordinary designs and perfumes, Gaultier has been working exclusively on his haute couture collections for the past two years as well as continuing to create extraordinary perfumes..

The famous French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier was born in a suburb of Paris and in his own vvords, “had an ext- remely boring” childhood. However, in his grammar school years, he had already decided to become a fashion designer. In 1970, when he was 18, Pierre Carden became impressed with his talent and hired him as his assistant. The next year, he began to work with Jacques Esterel. On April 24th 1971 hejoined Jean Patou, then went backto Pierre Cardin in 1974. VVorking with a number of important brands vvithin the space of a few years made him gain great experience.

In 1976 he produced the first elect- ronicjevvelry with Francis Menuge, his partner and the love of his life. He has alvvays been a pioneer, a designer of the extraordinary. İn October 1976 he created the first collection bearing his name. Now he remembers it with horror and describes it as “terrible.” The early collections of Jean Paul Gaultier were ins- pired by popular culture and Street apparel. İn 1985 he made men wear skirts and he became knovvn for this. İn the 90’s, his collaboration with Madonna made vvaves. The bustier that he designed for the vvorld tour of Madonna’s “Blonde Ambition” albüm instantly became the çenter of attention.


Jean Paul Gaultier was both criticized and acclaimed because of the unusual models that he used in his fashion shows.

He created collections for some films, including “The Fifth Element”

In 2008 he vvorked with the singer Kylie Minogue, and designed her costumes.

In 2012 he became the first fashion designer to sit on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival.

In 2013 his retrospective exhibition toured New York, Paris, London and Montreal and was visited by thousands.

The famous French designer continues his wory with his unique perspective and style.

What did your parents do for a living?

My mother worked in a restaurant as a cashier in Arceuil vvhere I was born and raised. My father was an accountant. We lived in a rental in a low class neighbor- hood and barely made ends meet. My father was a very gentle and kind man.

Who influenced you the most in your family?

I loved visiting my grandmother. She lived in a very nice apartment near us. She was a funny and entertaining woman. She was a medium and she spoke with her daughter who passed away at a young age. This mesmerized me. She wore large jevvelry and red lipstick. Her house was decorated with antique furniture… I could vvatch vvhatever I vvanted on TV in her place.

When did you decide to become a fashion designer?

I think I was in grammar school. I used to draw costumes for dancers in class. Then I saw Jacques Becker’s movie “Falbalas” and began to draw constantly. Show business and the movies are among the things that inspired me to become a fashion designer.

Your first job in the fashion business was with Pierre Cardin. How did you start vvorking there?

I didn’t want to go to my first job interview alone, so my mother came with me. I was hired on the spot. İt was my 18th birthday.

What did your family think about your decision to work in the fashion industry?

They alvvays stood by my side. They came to my first fashion show in Paris. My parents were very open minded people.

Do you remember your first show?

It was terrible, a complete fiasco! İt was in the October of 1976,1 didn’t have the money to do a show. I had to convince the models from the Yves Saint Laurent show to work in exchange of clothing. The music began to play before the garments were ready. Even the order in vvhich the models were to walk was unc- lear. But this didn’t discourage me, and I learned a valuable lesson from it.

What is Jean Paul Gaultier like in his personal life?

I am a quite boring person! I enjoy being idle, doing nothing. I like to eat and I like to be alone. I invite very few people to my house.

What does perfume mean to you? What does the realm of perfume contain?

The vvorld of perfume is a treasure chest for me. There are many elements, many things to discover. It has been 20 years since I started experimenting with new scents, started to force the limits of this magical realm. It contains endless possibilities.

Can you tell us the relationship between Haute Couture and perfume?

There is a close relationship betvveen them. Perfume is the first item of dress, it sets the tempo of the visual. They both require a great amount of knovv- hovv. There is an endless search for new shapes and scents in fashion. Both haute couture and perfume complete themselves in this know-how.

What is the most difficult aspect of creating a perfume brand?

The most difficult part is probably remaining true to one’s own self and one’s own realm. There’s also the aspect of interpreting one’s values and obsessi- ons into perfume. This task can only be achieved with this frame of mind and one can connect the two realms through know-how.

Not all fashion houses create perfumes. Why did you choose this field?

Creativity and challenging the traditional understanding of beauty are in my DNA. I always vvanted to present beauty from a wider perspective. I try to maintain this perspective in my perfumes and seek a different kind of beauty.

A scent you like in others?

The scent of freshness.

A scent that you dislike on yourself?

I don’t like invasive scents

A memory of a scent that carries you away?

The scent of rice povvder in amphitheatres. İt reminds me of the magic vvorld that I discovered when my grandmother took me to a show at the Theatre du Chatelet. It was like stepping into a new vvorld full of magic and poetry.

The scent of your childhood?

The smell of my grandmother’s private room.

What qualities must a perfume have to be cherished?

A sort of surprise, scent memory; like summoning a Vision when you smell it. My visual side is very povverful and scents always trigger visions.

Do you think vvomen are more faithful to their perfumes or to their men?

Loyalty is good, but change is also good Each of them are good in themselves.

Can you describe JPG perfumes?

Innovative, surprising, crafty and punk.

What sentence describing perfume you like the most ?

Belle Parfumerie does not only mean nature and ingredients.