top, vintage Jean Paul Gualtier. skirt, vintage, web tights, Express. boots, Forever 21. bangles/necklace, sister's. buckle watch, target.
Photography by Dave McKelvey
Vintage Designer Clothing provided by Designer Days Boutique
To wear Gaultier is to wear a proclamation. His penchant for blurring gender lines and showcasing society's underbelly by way of casting shows with the pierced and tattooed, aged and full figured of the streets, is more than a statement in realism; it is a manifestation of idiosyncratic beauty, and the collections' originality have staying power no matter the era.
My frustrations with fashion stem from the industry's complacency when it comes to individualism; it's become a proverbial sea of sameness and indulgence. The biggest names are doing the same things, same materials, same drapes, same colors, as if they are all too economically focused and therefore dressing the same damn women. Of course when it comes to 'getting it right,' we also have the likes of Rodarte, but for the moment we're gonna focus on Gaultier, the enfant terrible of French fashion.
Bodily perversion seems to be the frame in which Gaultier is always working.
Exhibit A: Madonna's iconic cone-shaped bra; I could probably delve into an in depth analysis on what that thing means in terms of a cultural fascination with breasts and the feminist power therein, but that might be better fodder for a book than a blog post.
Exhibit B: Marilyn Manson's sometimes dapper, gothic suits, and fetish-like, feminized feather and leather compilations, worn for the album The Golden Age of Grotesque; Cultural dissection of that album's inferences to the Weimar Republic, and Pre-Nazi Germany in correlation with Gaultier's produced aesthetic of masks and gothic zoot suits could ensue...but again, I'll save that for a book.
Exhibit C: Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover; Gaultier designed the entire decadent, English Gangster wardrobe. The film is most well known for its' lavish cinematography and formalism. The wardrobe works in flawless conjunction with said formalism insomuch as it is oozing Frenchness, which adds to the licentiousness of the mise-en-scene. There is of course, just a pinch of gothic-street Gaultier with the bondage-y straps on Georgina's dress. Bodily perversion in the designs actually comes via the narrative ending: cannibalism, 'nough said.
The piece that I was so lucky to wear for a few hours of my life, hits on gender bending as well as bodily subversion. The front is all menswear, a simple, pinstriped vest complete with a pocket for a silk square of fabric that sports my initials or something, like a proper gentleman would carry. You know, the kind that peeks out just a tid-bit from a front pocket, adding a hint of color on an otherwise dark uniform suit.
The back of course, is all feminine, a bow of chiffon in a brilliant red/orange color with white polka dots. The bow hits mid-back, which accentuates the small of the back, drawing attention to a sexy spot in a far classier way than a tramp stamp. Its appeal is in the understated allure and the sort of black-and-white-cookie way of incorporating both gender styles. It really makes me think of that character from A Nightmare Before Christmas, the mayor, whose head swivels around depending on his emotions. Clothing that changes meaning depending on which way you're standing is pretty much as brilliant as it gets.
Thanks to Designer Days Boutique for allowing me the Gaultier experience. I hope my styling did it justice.