72 posts tagged "Jean Paul Gaultier"
As industries go, fashion may be the least closeted there is: No one can deny the massive impact made by men and women who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered in the history of fashion and costume. Fashion historian Valerie Steele addresses the contributions made by LGBT people in a new exhibition, A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk, opening this week at the Museum at F.I.T. It includes pieces ranging from designs by Jean Paul Gaultier and Gianni Versace to Edwardian suits and nineteenth-century finery; clothing made by gays and for gays; as well as those items and styles co-opted and fetishized by gay audiences, and from gay audiences. (See, for example, Versace’s adaptation of leather fetish regalia into his women’s haute couture.)
As the exhibition makes clear—not that it wasn’t out, as it were, already—the gay contribution to fashion is beyond doubt. The question that’s much harder to answer is why. Shortly after the show was announced last year, I sat down with Steele, who co-curated the exhibit with Fred Dennis, to try to tease out the curious correlation and connection between gayness, politics, fashion, and style.
It goes without saying—but let’s say it—that many, many fashion designers and professionals are gay. Is gayness fashion’s default position?
I don’t know if it’s the default position, because there are heterosexual men, and there are women of all different sexualities, straight, gay, and bi, in fashion—though fewer of them have come out than gay men. But I think it’s not just a stereotype to say that there’s a lot of interest in fashion and style among a lot of gay men. What we’re interested in doing with Queer History is, if you can get beyond saying it’s just a stereotype, maybe you can start exploring why it might be the case that there’s this interest in fashion and style. You’re not pathologizing it; for one thing, most people like fashion now. You could explore, is there a kind of gay sensibility that would be drawn to issues of style and fashion?
And is there?
We tend to think yes. But we think there’s not one gay aesthetic, but at least a couple of different gay aesthetics. Several, probably: One that would tend to be more idealizing, and the other that would be more disruptive and gender-fuck.
But that idealizing aesthetic could be a kind of misogyny, no? You have male designers creating designs for women’s bodies that aren’t necessarily forgiving, or even possible…
If you go online, this is the vox pop: Do gay men hate women? You saw that [first] in the fifties, when you had all these very homophobic commentators, like the psychiatrist Bergler, who said that gay men hate women and therefore they make weird clothes for them to wear. But the point is, gay men have made all different types of clothes. It’s not just that they like girls to look like teenage boys, or they like girls to look like a caricature of women. It’s all different styles. And you find that straight men and women of different sexual persuasions also doing those, too. It’s much more related to their individual aesthetic and their time period than it is to their sexual orientations. So I think you have to confront that. Some people who don’t like fashion are going to say that it’s gay men making things for putatively straight women. But I think you can’t be held back by homophobic complaints. I think it’s more important to try and explore where things might lead you and not be constrained by irrational homophobia—and irrational fashion phobia, too.
Which go hand in hand.
Which often do go hand in hand.
Where does this connection between gay men and fashion come from?
I think it’s partly a kind of self-selection early on that gay boys, maybe before they know they’re gay, are interested often in artistic pursuits. “Artistic” was always a kind of euphemism for being gay. Lots of gay people talk about, “When I was four, I was telling my mother how to dress. When I was four, I was doing elaborate drawings of ladies’ costumes.” That’s before you have much of a sexual identity, but there’s already possibly something there that’s attractive about artistic and transformative fields like fashion. Fashion is about artifice and transformation and fantasy and a certain idea of beauty. I think it’s intrinsically very appealing to a lot of people, and it may just be that, at least in certain cultures—and there’s been so little cross-cultural work done, it’s hard to tell—that may be something that’s part of a gay male sensibility. Continue Reading “Glitter and Be Gay? Addressing the LGBT Influence in Fashion” »
Beth Ditto simultaneously did it up, and down, at her recent Maui wedding to Kristin Ogata. Up because she wore a custom, Madonna-worthy Jean Paul Gaultier gown (The Gossip frontwoman also modeled on the designer’s Spring ’11 catwalk), and down because she chose to go laid-back and barefoot during the nuptials. Ogata, however, wore a sweet pair of perforated white lace-ups with her spiffy white suit, and both accented their wedding ensembles with floral garlands and ear-to-ear grins. Congrats to the happy couple!
You’d think that, after working with Madonna for 15 years, Arianne Phillips would have seen it all. But Phillips, the stylist and costume designer behind a decade and a half of Madonna videos and performances, as well as films like Walk the Line and W.E., says that the pop star’s 2012 MDNA world tour was like nothing she had ever experienced. “There were an epic amount, a tsunami, of costumes,” Phillips told Style.com of the show’s wardrobe, which included an updated iteration of Madonna’s iconic cone bra by Jean Paul Gaultier. “And we aren’t talking tennis shoes and sneakers—it’s costume and fashion.” Prior to the premiere of Madonna: The MDNA Tour, a documentary that airs on Epix tonight at 8 p.m., Phillips, who’s currently in London working on a new film, talked to Style.com about the MDNA costumes, Madonna’s collaboration with Jean Paul Gaultier, and what it takes to put on an unforgettable show.
Where do you begin when designing costumes for Madonna?
Well, it always starts with the music, of course, and usually Madonna crafts a set list that’s part of a narrative. It’s a story with a beginning, middle, and end. This show was really about transformation. Each act had a different theme and costume had a purpose. This tour with her was definitely the biggest undertaking I have been a part of—on the technical side and on the conceptual side. It’s one thing to just design a costume for Madonna herself, but if you think about it, we had 23 dancers, five band members, and two background singers. And everyone requires multiple costume changes.
How do the costumes help express the show’s narrative?
We think of it as characters, and [Madonna] is playing a part. That character requires development and visuals in addition to the songs she’s singing. In the beginning of the show, she comes out dressed like a queen in a crown with a machine gun. She takes that off to reveal this super-vixen character that we kind of debuted in the “Girl Gone Wild” video. The next act is all about expression and having a message, and it opens up with “Express Yourself.” She’s wearing this homage to a forties majorette. The third act is “Vogue,” and it’s all about identity and gender-bending—iconic Madonna. She’s trying to figure out who she is again. And in the end, it’s a celebration, and she transforms into this powerful Joan of Arc character. Everyone is wearing mesh T-shirts, and it’s just like a really fun party. The tour gave her an opportunity to take classic songs like “Papa Don’t Preach” and give them a new twist. She has been performing these same songs forever, but she’s the queen of reinvention, and she creates an entertaining concept for the shows that keeps it interesting and relevant. The costumes have to underscore that, and they have to provoke and entertain.
How many costume changes did Madonna do throughout the course of the show?
The costumes are part of the choreography, so we have a lot of quick changes, and people are literally changing clothes under the stage. Madonna changes full costumes about four times. But then, for instance, for the “Vogue” act, she comes out in the Gaultier corset and then she disrobes. So by the end of the act, when she sings “Like a Virgin,” she is in a corset and a bra, and she has done different songs in different deconstructions of the outfit. So her costumes change for almost every song.
VFiles—you know it as the one-stop Mercer Street shop famous for its international cool-kid wares and its unique, engaging social-media platform. But as of this month, the store has added a notably more traditional branch to its hyper-hip oeuvre: an expertly sourced vintage capsule dubbed Voyageur Du Temps, replete with pieces from Chanel, Gianni Versace, Jean Paul Gaultier, and more.
Sourced from private dealers worldwide, VFiles’ collection of covetable collectibles—which includes a graffiti-and-vinyl Hermès tote and a cotton-candy-pink Céline knapsack—sprung from one of the site’s most popular clicks: a digitized Chanel lookbook from 1994. Recognizing a thirst for vintage among its followers, the brand decided to fashion its own trove of archived accoutrements.
Pieces from Voyageur Du Temps are available now online and at VFiles’ 12 Mercer Street location in New York City. Prices range from $300 to $3,000.
Last night in Chelsea, Out magazine threw a bash at the Americano to toast its April David Bowie issue. The party drew a pretty diverse crowd of fans, from Ladyfag—who credits Bowie as inspiring her to “go that extra mile, in twenty pounds of makeup”—to Italo Zucchelli, who said that Bowie’s glam rock was one of the reasons he became a designer. “When I discovered him, my world changed,” the Calvin Klein Collection men’s designer told Style.com.
Bowie himself wasn’t in attendance last night, but his influence was omnipresent. Guests painted lightning bolts across their faces and sipped on Ziggy Stardust-themed cocktails, and Bowie’s longtime friend, drag queen Joey Arias, gave a knockout performance. As the night grew late, Out editor in chief Aaron Hicklin opened up about the challenges of doing a David Bowie issue with no David Bowie (the artist has been famously quiet lately in an attempt to let his new album stand on its own). But instead of seeing it as problem, Hicklin saw it as an opportunity—he ditched the idea of the usual cover shoot and feature, and instead commissioned personal essays on Bowie from Jean Paul Gaultier, Dries Van Noten, Jake Shears, Chuck Palahniuk, and more. Said Hicklin, “It was an editor’s dream. I don’t think we would have gotten there if we didn’t have to get there—the journalism had to be much more interesting and creative.” Out‘s new issue is on newsstands now.