Jean Paul Gaultier Fashion Freak Show: An Impression
Updated: Mar 27, 2019
Before I could even write down my thoughts I was thrown into a frenzy of photo taking and being mistaken as one of the performers resulting in some fabulous photos with a fashion guru.
As a constant rule breaker I had to restrain, desperately restrain myself from rebelling once again by not engaging in the forbidden photo and video taking of the show. So I repeat from memory what took me over for nearly two hours and maybe a half.
The Jean-Paul Gaultier Fashion Freak Show was essentially the most risque and elegant combination of a production I have ever witnessed explaining my favorite subject in fashion--the politics and the way fashion interacts or relates with it.
The progression of the show is organized, in simple matters, three different levels. The first being a biography of Gaultier’s life, the second, the timeline of his most iconic pieces, and thirdly, the major historical events that influenced both his life and creations. His work, being contemporary to the time in which they were created are the pieces to the essential stories that educates the public of history--in this case the history of Western pop culture namely USA, France, and most of Western Europe.
The show opens up with a giant teddy bear singing with the lungs as strong as an opera singer's. Throughout the play we will see and hear from the teddy bear as it was Gautier's iconic childhood toy - his true friend. Although everything is in French and je suis une debutant, the over-sized and extravagant teddy bear is introducing the show to us essentially explaining that the show will provide the audience with insight of Gaultier's inspirations in conjunction with the major events that affected Gaultier and the community he was surrounded by. One major event the play focuses heavily on is the rise of aides in the 80's.
This show is a perfect combination of burlesque and opera, a social challenge and a clearly deep personal use of expression. Each of the costumes, obviously created by Gaultier himself are either renditions or copies of his most iconic pieces and garments; the coned bras, the blue and white stripped shirts, and many of the iconic gowns we have seen debuted on the runway in the past couple of decades.