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Jean-Paul Gaultier is a French designer known for his influential designs, especially the creation of Madonna’s infamous conical bras for her 1990 Blond Ambition tour.
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Jean-Paul Gaultier is a French fashion designer born on April 24, 1952 in Arcueil, Val-de-Marne, France. At age 18, he joined the house of Pierre Cardin before moving on to Jacques Esterel and Patou. The debut of Gaultier’s own collection was in 1976,
"I don't think I was ever concerned with shocking people. Was I conscious of the fact that it could be shocking? Yes. But I just wanted to show what I found fair or normal or beautiful. If anything, I was the one who was shocked, by certain kinds of intolerance."
but he did not officially launch his own design house until 1982. His style is known to challenge standard views of fashion. He collaborated with Madonna in 1990 to create her infamous conical bras. In 2003, he became head designer at Hermes where he worked until 2011. Diet Coke appointed Gaultier as its new creative director in 2012.
The only child of a bookkeeper and a cashier, Jean Paul Gaultier developed a taste for fashion at a young age. He spent much of his childhood with his maternal grandmother, and found inspiration in her closet - her corsets in particular fascinated him. He even once made a bra for a stuffed bear - a childhood artifact that was featured later in an exhibition of his work.
At only 13 years old, Gaultier came up with designs for his grandmother and his mother. He loved fashion magazines and kept up with the latest designers. And like the top designers, Gaultier began to develop his own collections. He sent off some of his sketches to several Parisian designers, and landed a job with designer Pierre Cardin on his eighteenth birthday. It was his first experience with formal design training.
Gaultier started his career as an assistant for Cardin in 1970 and then moved to Jean Patou the following year. Around this time, Gaultier was also influenced by the work of Yves Saint Laurent. Gaultier eventually returned to Cardin, before working as a designer in the Philippines.
In 1976, Gaultier established his own fashion label and held his first runway show in Paris. He opened his business with the assistance of his significant other, Francis Menuge, and together they helped establish the Jean Paul Gaultier brand. Gaultier received later financial backing from Kashiyama, a Japanese clothing company.
Before long, Gaultier became known as the bad boy of the fashion world. He challenged popular notions of gender and drew from edgy street and punk influences. One early look he created for women involved mixing a tough leather jacket with a crinoline skirt with sneakers. Gaultier put undergarments front center with his corset dresses, which debuted in 1983. Two years later unveiled his skirts for men, another effort by the designer to subvert gender stereotypes. He also defied expectations with his runway shows, developing a reputation for over-the-top spectacles. Often wearing his trademark kilt and Breton striped-sweater, Gaultier quickly became one of fashion's most high-profile figures.
In 1990, Gaultier suffered a personal and professional loss when his partner Francis Menuge died of AIDS. Gaultier didn't succumb to the setback, though. That same year he created one of his signature looks that the same year as the costume designer for Madonna's Blond Ambition Tour.
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