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September 1 2014

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75 posts tagged "Jean Paul Gaultier"

Jean Paul Gaultier: “My Purpose Is Not To Shock”

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Jean Paul Gaultier by Andy WarholThough perhaps an enfant no more, Jean Paul Gaultier’s long-standing reputation as one of fashion’s enfants terribles hardly jives with the concept of a traditional museum retrospective. In fact, Gaultier himself finds it hard to imagine his designs in such a setting. “I am from the generation where, when I saw an exhibition of someone’s work, they were dead!” he told us. “I think I am still alive, and I never in my dreams thought that a museum could be interested in the work I’m doing.”

However, judging by the buzz around The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, both museums and the masses are keen on a comprehensive showcase of the designer’s work. And, having bowed in 2011 at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, this traveling exhibition is, of course, anything but ordinary. Set to make its East Coast debut at the Brooklyn Museum this Friday, the Thierry-Maxime Loriot-curated show offers a look at Gaultier’s career through the lens of his fixations, from punk rock to corsetry to his many muses. Animated faces (including the visage of Gaultier himself, which is paired with his signature Breton shirt) are projected on many of the show’s mannequins. Elsewhere, S&M-inspired gear is shown in stacked booths reminiscent of a red light district. Ahead of the New York opening, Style.com caught up with the master himself to talk reality television, haute couture, and his career as an accidental provocateur.

When you were initially approached about having an exhibition, did you ever feel any reluctance?
At the beginning, yes. I refused. For me, it was truly for dead people. But after meeting the team at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, I thought, “Ah! Maybe we can do something that is not dead.” It’s nice because it’s a new adventure and it’s not one fixed, chronological exhibition. I did not want it by color or year. I prefer to group the clothes by the things that I’m obsessed with, or the things that are important to me, with different periods mixed together.

Your Spring ’14 runway show took inspiration from both Dancing With the Stars and Grease. Has your relationship with pop culture changed over the years?
I have always been impressed by rock culture, rock shows, people like Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and the New York Dolls—all that influenced me. I look a lot at TV, even trashy programs, reality TV sometimes, and love the contests like Dancing With the Stars. I think I am a little American that way! It’s super interesting, psychologically, and I love performance. Continue Reading “Jean Paul Gaultier: “My Purpose Is Not To Shock”” »

Vibrant Viramontes

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ViramontesViramontes_2

Few people captured the zeitgeist of the 1980s fashion and club scene as expressively as fashion illustrator Tony Viramontes. His work explodes off the pages of an extensive new monograph, Bold, Beautiful and Damned – the World of 1980s Fashion Illustrator Tony Viramontes, which, authored by Dean Rhys Morgan, will be released by Laurence King Publishing on October 7. Viramontes—who was educated in fashion illustration under Steven Meisel at Parsons, was mentored by Antonio Lopez, and made his debut in The New York Times in 1979—had a firm grasp on the eighties fascination with the androgynous, transgressive, and performative. He drew male and female models with wide shoulders, large mouths, marked eyebrows, and empowered stances in a constant state of vivid expression. The artist worked for and with everyone from The Face, Vogue, Yves Saint Laurent (above, top right), Valentino (above, top left), Chanel, Claude Montana, and Jean Paul Gaultier, who wrote the forward to Rhys Morgan’s tome. Viramontes’ models included the likes of Naomi Campbell (above, bottom left), Isabella Rossellini, Rene Russo, and Janice Dickinson (below), and he even did the album covers for Arcadia’s So Red the Rose and Janet Jackson’s breakout Control (above, bottom right). Sadly, though, Viramontes’ work was largely forgotten after his passing in 1988. Continue Reading “Vibrant Viramontes” »

The Past Is Back

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Jean PatouSchiaparelli isn’t the only iconic house that’s getting a reboot. WWD reports that French brand Jean Patou—which was founded by its namesake designer in the twenties, and helmed by the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, and Christian Lacroix after Patou’s death—is going to return to the fashion scene. Both a couturier and sportswear trailblazer, Patou, like Schiaparelli, had a way with tenniswear and smart knits—he was even credited with popularizing the cardigan. “We already have plans, we have ideas and know what sort of fashion we would like to do—and even consulted designers, who are all excited, because no matter what school they’ve done, for them Patou is an enormous reference,” the label’s vice president, Bruno Cottard, told the paper. Having ceased to produce couture in 1987 after Lacroix left the house to work on his own label, the brand has lived on through fragrances for the last two and a half decades. Cottard suggested that the house could make its Paris fashion week comeback as soon as a year from now.

Photo: George Hoyningen-Huene

Glitter and Be Gay? Addressing the LGBT Influence in Fashion

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Calvin Klein AdAs 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” »

A Very JPG Wedding

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Beth Ditto's Wedding

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!