Opening with Jean Paul Gaultier’s show for Hermès ready-to-wear last fall and ends with him taking a bow at the end of that same show. Director Farida Khelfa, a model herself who actually walked on this very same catwalk, really shows the enfant terrible of the fashion world as someone who loves what he does and loves women. The picture we get from this documentary is that Gaultier is in reality less enfant terrible and more pussy cat.
Gaultier is constantly thinking of women and surrounded by them. He has worked with the likes of Madonna, Beth Ditto and Dita Von Teese. When he talks of clothes his passion is evident and when he looks at women all he sees is beauty. Wanting to dress all kinds of women using black and even larger than usual women. These women were no longer invisible in the fashion world. He used “real” women. Breaking all the rules. Or at least playing by his own.
Over the course of his 30 year career Gaultier has in his own way revolutionized the fashion world and become quite an astute businessman. Behind the scenes at this fashion show we see that rebel reputation as he refuses to conform to the norms and does things the way he thinks they should or must be done. His success has not come from following the rules.
We find out that Gaultier discovered his passion for clothes at a very young age. He would play with his grandmother’s clothes and that is when he began creating his own pieces. The first Jean Paul Gaultier creations. His first job was working part-time for Pierre Cardin. Success did not come from the beginning for Gaultier and he had to persevere through some failures out of the gate.
Though he appears to be quite bubbly in the documentary Khelfa came to know him as a man who uses his good humour to hide the pain that he is feeling. Her portrayal of the man gets quite intimate at times. She gets him to open up about his partner, businessman Francis Menuge. Gaultier says that it was love at first sight between the two and that he is as successful as his is because Menuge always believed in him. They became partners in life and business. Tragically Menuge died young from AIDS. Since then Gaultier has tirelessly raised money for AIDS research.