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There is no disputing that Jean Paul Gaultier, even at 70, remains the enfant terrible of the fashion world – and his vision of what fashion should be is just spectacular. He finds beauty everywhere and in everything.
This show is about him. His world, his mind, his imagination starting with one of the campest videos I’ve ever seen where a team of surgeons perform a conical bra implant on his teddy bear, long before his iconic association with Madonna.
Then we meet the young schoolboy drawing fabulous gowns as influenced by the Folies Bergère. He is in his own world which is energetic, sexual, transgressive and brilliant. Honing his craft at the House of Cardin, his life journey begins. This is luxurious theatre. A two-act piece of an assault on the senses that focuses on aspects of Gaultier’s life that is just fascinating to see and witness.
Directed with great flair and style by the late Tonie Marshall, this is pure class; loud, very high production standards including the amazing use of an LED revolving stage, video and even circus acts including club kids and ensemble dance routines. And the wonderful use of costumes being worn by two people at the same time that gave you the sense of togetherness, especially when they featured his lover.
This was more than a catwalk show, it was a look at a man’s life that was mesmerising, captivating and beguiling, and of course undeniably OTT, and utterly touching especially when JPG let’s us know about his experience with HIV/AIDS. Gaultier is still exciting, diverse and truly inspirational. Perfection. Sexy. Mind-blowing. In fact where the worlds of burlesque art, fashion and fetish sex are fused to a level that could only come from the creative genius of JPG. A must see! An incredible piece. A stunning, visual extravagance. Bizarrely beautiful and chic.
Photos by Mark Senior