As a young boy, Jean Paul Gaultier used to spend his time watching the black and white images beamed into his television set from Paris’s legendary music hall the Folies Bergere. At school, the young Gaultier would sketch showgirl costumes in his lessons, confirming everyone’s view that he was not what was considered a ‘normal’ young boy.
So it’s little wonder that being so inspired from a young age by the stage, Jean Paul Gaultier has chosen the medium of theatre to tell the story of his career.
His show, entitled Jean Paul Gaultier – Fashion Freakshow, is a spectacle of the weird and wonderful. Part fashion show, part revue, this new production directed, written and designed by Jean Paul himself sees actors, dancer and circus artists take to the stage to create a snapshot of Gaultier’s unique mind.
The show takes us on a journey through his work and journals, paying homage to the people who have inspired him in film (Pedro Almodovar, Luc Besson), music (Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Mylène Farmer) and dance (Régine Chopinot, Angelin Prejlocaj).
And for all of those Gaultier fans out there, he has created several new outfits that appear throughout the show, as well as staying faithful to some of his most iconic looks.
In a fateful callback to his youth, the show is playing at the exact Parisian music hall that inspired the young Jean in his early days, the Folies Bergere.
On the website for the show, Gaultier talks about the worlds he is trying to create on-stage in Freak Show:
“I will tackle new issues such as plastic surgery and the creatures it spawns, or the vanity fair of social media. All that has been an inspiration for a number of new costumes. Clothes can say so much about their time, the way we relate to femininity and masculinity, sexuality, about what we consider different and where the limits of society are.”
He goes on to talk about why he created the show and what we can hope to see:
“I want to show difference. For there is beauty to be found everywhere, it all depends on how one chooses to look at it. I’ve always loved freaks, weirdoes, agitators, the mixing of different aesthetics, the unexpected encounters. This transgressive energy will be on show for all to see.”
Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fashion Freak Show plays at the Folies Bergere in Paris until the end of December 2018. To buy tickets take a look at the show’s website here.