It was my personal conclusion several years ago that Gaultier was 80s fashion. He inspired, he cajoled, he shocked, he amused, he led, and he brought popular interest back to fashion designers in that decade.
Jean Paul Gaultier loved fashion in the 80s. As he stated about the 1980s in Interview, October 2001:
For me it was the dream of my life to do this work. I could do what I loved to do. It was a time of excitement and freedom, and also there was a hysteria [in the air] about fashion. There was intensity because the Japanese had arrived and added a lot of excitement. It was not about marketing and managing and all that. In the '80s the word was creativity.The list of my favorite 80s trends? Gaultier did them all. If you doubt his transmutation of gender roles or his humor, please watch How to Do That, his foray into music video of 1989:
Originally posted June 25, 2006:
I can't begin to articulate the influence of Jean Paul GAULTIER in the 1980s, but I can try to articulate the way his influence felt on me then. Many deemed him the "bad boy" of fashion, but in so many ways he seemed to me the absolute apex of all that was current in the 80s, completely creative yet centered on the classics. Richly traditional, eclectic, seasoned, and yet well-seasoned with more than a hint of exotic spice. Not a bad boy, more like terribly, terribly good!
In my 80s fashion blogs I've mentioned athletic wear, humor, masculine dress, unconventional beauty, uniform, color, polka dots and stripes, vintage inspirations...look no further than Gaultier for the very most incisive looks of the decade. At times as deconstructing and radical as the Japanese, he also held things together with his Parisian fashion roots. Gaultier also made a great impact dressing Madonna in flamboyant outer/underwear, and creating rich ethnic-inspired clothing.
I love this Elle magazine spread with Gaultier choosing clothing from a range of sources for these eclectic looks (above and below).
Update August 31, 2009:
Gaultier has been up to no bad. His recent styling for Les Echos, using his own and others' clothing designs, shows his stunning inimitability:
Here is some of Gaultier's work for Hermès, and his own ready to wear and couture lines for fall 2009, showing his talent for making eye-opening and absolutely wearable clothing.
And still, Gaultier is outré, provoking, amusing, leading as ever, with incredible variety in one—the same—season of design.
From the 80s through today, viva Gaultier!