Who doesn’t love his corsets, The Parisienne look, the Sailor’s style and his iconic, addictive perfumes? If you, just like us, have a thing for Jean Paul Gaultier, today we’re going to reveal what the Enfant Terrible of fashion told us during his visit in Dubai, right before we had the chance to explore ‘Jean Paul Gaultier from A to Z’, the exhibition held at the French Pavilion at Expo 2020.

The exhibition, a world premiere curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot, retraces the French designer’s 50-year career and takes you on a journey to discover the artist’s work from A to Z. Along the way, you’ll discover the exceptional know-how of his Parisian haute couture atelier. Around 30 iconic pieces are currently on display in Dubai until March 31st examining a singular aesthetic from every angle and exploring its various influences from cinema to dance and female icons like Frida Kahlo and Farida Khelfa, who was also present yesterday for the opening of the exhibition.

“My clothes are, in a way, the best passport to make my ideas travel,” claimed Jean Paul Gaultier. Besides his unforgettable pieces, the designer is a likeable character, with his bleached hair and contagious laughter. He shared with us a few stories about his iconic cone bra when he admitted that it was designed for his teddy bear! The piece, which was worn by Madonna in 1989 and which grabbed the public’s attention for the way in which it rebelled against the narrow definition of what constitutes a beautiful female body, was initially sewn for something a little more … personal. Who would have thought that a piece designed for a little bear would later become so embedded into the canon of pop music and fashion?!

Prophetic vision

Through the exhibition, one can also feel how Gaultier’s humanistic vision has shaken up and reinvented the codes of the fashion industry and society. His inclusive fashion, with its social message, celebrates beauty of all kinds, diversity, but also individuality, as well as peculiarities. He says, “Look at old denims for example, they’re always more beautiful with wrinkles and just like that, women should embrace their age, curves and roundness and every change their body goes through.” His prophetic vision of our present society is always inspired by diversity and difference, his main source of inspiration are the streets, a universe where the exchange of ideas and multi-culturalism, androgyny and metamorphosis, women and power and gender-defined objects merge and blend.

The Dubai world Expo 2020 aims to reflect the cultural challenges faced by our society, but it also seeks to help build the future. Having Jean Paul Gaultier represent France was an obvious choice, since his universal language can be understood by all. Luckily, our radars will always be on the lookout for inspirations like him whenever they visit us in the Gulf, so keep your coffees hot and your eyes wide open!