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Jean Paul Gaultier - Unconventional Style

Oct 9, 2007
Best known for his striking, controversial - sometimes, outrageous collection - Jean-Paul Gaultier (born April 24, 1952 in Arcueil, France) never received formal education as a designer. He started creating sketches at a young age and was designing clothes for his mother and grandmother by age 13. At 17, he sent the sketches to renowned couture stylists including Pierre Cardin. His talents impressed Cardin who then hired him as an assistant.

Gaultier spent the next two years working for Cardin before he became a designer for Jacques Estrel and later on, for the House of Patou in Paris where he worked for three years. In 1976, French fashion magazine Mode Internationale featured a number of Gaultier's sketches which received favorable reviews by designers all over the world. That same year he launched his own designer label under Mayagor, while engaging in freelance RTW furs, swimsuits and leather.

Since 1981, Gaultier has been known to produce avant-garden designs, which bore him the name enfant terrible, or the bad boy of French fashion. His style is mainly focused on street wear and popular culture. A popular example would be the conical bra that he designed for Madonna's Blond Ambition Tour. Kilts are also a significant part of his menswear collection, even using them himself on TV events and shows where he acts as presenter, such as Eurotrash. Similarly, his choice of models remains unconventional - from older men and plus-size women to pierced and tattoo-ridden youngsters. Occasionally, he toys with gender roles for exhibitions.

In 1987, Gaultier was awarded French designer of the year. A year after, he launched an affordable sportswear line named Junior Gaultier in Paris, then later to department stores in the United States. In contrast, he planted another store of ready-to-wear clothes for men and women in Paris with high-end prices that were exported to boutiques in uptown Miami, Los Angeles and New York.

The French designer is also known to design wardrobes for motion pictures, including Greenaway's "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover" and the sci-fi thriller "The Fifth Element". He has also created outfits for artists like Madonna, Marilyn Manson and Les Fatals Picards. During the 90s, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted an exhibit for him, entitled "Bravehearts - Men in Skirts."

Currently he serves as designer for three collections: his own haute couture and RTWs, and leather clothing for French line Hermes. He also has a fragrance collection which began with Classique for women in 1993, followed by Le Male for men in 1995. Le Male is the highest grossing men's perfume in Europe and holds an equally competitive position in Australia and the US. A third perfume, Fragrance for women, was launched in 2000 although it received relatively low sales. This was followed by a unisex fragrance, Gaultier in 2005. His latest fragrance for men, Fleur du Male was launched in 2007.
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