Style Jean Paul Gaultier but in the movies

Jean Paul Gaultier but in the movies

Andrea Tuzio

Jean Paul Gaultier is without question one of the most brilliant and eccentric designers ever.
His dazzling and incredible career as a couturier is studded with unparalleled and unique peaks that have made history in contemporary fashion.
In reality, however, the spark that started it all and gave us the wonderful work of the enfant prodige of French fashion must be sought in the seventh art, cinema

The jailbird film was Falbalas, by French director Jacques Becker, released in 1945. The film tells the story of a womanizing fashion designer who begins courting the girlfriend of a close friend, but things do not go as planned.

“I was literally seduced by the atmosphere of the film and particularly that of a maison during World War II”, this is how Jean Paul Gaultier expressed himself about the very film and why it was the enlightenment that then led him on the path that led him to be what he was and still is today.

Growing up in the Parisian suburbs, JPG never studied to become a designer; he was for all intents and purposes a self-taught designer who began sending his sketches to the most fashionable French designers of the time. It was Pierre Cardin who first glimpsed the potential and enormous talent of that very young designer, so much so that he hired him as his assistant in 1970.
It was in 1976, however, that Gaultier launched his eponymous brand, and from there on we know the story: the French designer would establish himself as one of the most eclectic and brilliant personalities in the history of contemporary fashion.

It was, however, with Peter Greenaway’s 1989 film, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, that JPG could finally give vent to his desire to be reunited with his first love. Gaultier will be the costume designer of that film, where Helen Mirren will wear the very famous black bodysuit cut with the unmistakable bondage aesthetic, a garment that will represent from that moment on, the perfect synthesis between the French designer’s work as a pure designer and his work as a costume designer.
She would work again in this role in The Lost City or The Lost City of Children, a 1995 French science fiction film directed, by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, set in the near future and winking at the steampunk style.

But it was in 1997 that his flair in the film world manifested itself in all its grandeur.
French filmmaker Luc Besson chose him as costume designer for the most expensive European-produced film ever for the time, the iconic The Fifth Element.

Here Gaultier can really play and have fun like never before. In fact, more than $90 million will be allocated for the film – for a global gross of more than $264 – and more than 1,000 costumes will be made.
The film’s aesthetic will remain in the collective imagination by defining an era and a style, receiving a César Awards nomination for best costumes as well.

Forever indelible in the memory of all who saw the film are the white headbands worn by Leeloo, a being with humanoid features and played by the beautiful Milla Jovovich, or the leopard catsuit worn by Chris Tucker – DJ Ruby Rhod in the film – to give another example.
It was not only the costumes that were stellar, the cast was no less: In addition to the actors already mentioned we find Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Tricky, Mathieu Kassovitz and many others.

His being a visionary, a forerunner of the times and trends-just think of his overcoming already at the time the concept of genre in order to immerse the film’s characters in the future in which they live (the film is in fact set mainly in 2263)-makes Jean Paul Gaultier a creative genius unrepeatable even in the world of cinema. In 2004 he will also work on the costumes for Pedro Almodóvar’s La mala educación together with Paco Delgado.

His artistic stature as a costume designer and all-around movie man would later be made definitive in 2012, when the couturier was chosen as a juror for the 65th Cannes Film Festival.

Written by Andrea Tuzio
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