Monday, 11 January 2010
Jean Paul Gaultier on Film
Catherine Deneuve and Jean Paul Gaultier
"The cinema inspired me to become a couturier, I owe it everything" - Jean Paul Gaultier
Lights, Camera, Gaultier! The Australian Centre for the Moving Image together with L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival present a film program dedicated to the career, creations and influences of the 'enfant terrible' of French fashion - Jean Paul Gaultier.
2010 marks forty years since Gaultier began his career in fashion at an after school job assisting designer Pierre Cardin and he is now not only one of the most infamous fashion designers but also one of the most revered Paris couturiers - rare for a self-taught designer. Gaultier and his designs are also interweaved throughout the history of popular culture; his Madonna's Blonde Ambition-era cone bras, the controversial skirts for men collection, as well as his stints as a presenter on cult UK TV show Eurotrash all confirmed him as a style icon. His designs have also been praised by a galaxy of starlets from Mickey Rourke to Marion Cotillard.
With Jean Paul Gaultier on Film, ACMI Film Programmer James Nolen has compiled a program that charts the course of Gaultier's career from his early inspirations to his most recent creations. "More than any other fashion designer working today, Jean Paul Gaultier has a deep connection to film. It was the French 1944 film Falbalas, filled with the work of couturier Marcel Rochas, which would inspire Gaultier to become a fashion designer. He continues to influence fashion and draws inspiration especially from the silver screen. This is a rare opportunity to explore the work of one of the great fashion designers, on the big screen and a world first!" said James.
The season opens with The Day Before: Jean Paul Gaultier (2009) which portrays the final hours before the Gaultier Haute Couture fashion show. Director Loic Prigent, a self-confessed fashion geek - who has previously followed Karl Lagerfeld and Marc Jacobs - spends 36 hours with Gaultier on the eve of his 2010 Autumn-Winter Haute Couture collection. A more significant collection could not be committed to film as Gaultier's designs pay tribute to cinema and its screen sirens including Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve and Mae West. The collection finishes with a wedding dress which just happens to resemble the one in Falbalas (1944) also screening in this season. Prigent commands access that would make the hair of any fashion aspirant stand on end, and takes pains to show the real life of fashion, as sublime, surreal, high-stakes and prosaic as it is, day-to-day.
As well as being inspired by film, Gaultier has himself been responsible for some significant on-screen moments including costumes for Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Dystopian French steam-punk feast The City of Lost Children (1995). Gaultier had previously contributed designs for Pedro Almodovar's Kika (1993) and Peter Greenaway's The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989) and would go on to create unforgettable costumes for Luc Besson's The Fifth Element (1997). The City of Lost Children and its dark disturbing world, inhabited by a little orphan girl, a sentimental strongman and dream-stealing mad scientist, was the first film to fully explore the vision of Gaultier.
Set in the milieu of a Parisian couturier, Falbalas is the film that would propel Gaultier to enter the world of fashion, eventually realising his dream of establishing his own line of haute couture in 1997. It has been called the greatest movie ever made about the fashion industry and Gaultier fondly remembers his own first viewing: "When I was nine or ten, I saw Falbalas, the film from the forties by Jacques Becker with Micheline Presle. The film was based on the atelier of Marcel Rochas and it portrayed 'maison de couture'. It was like a magic world had opened before me."
In an extraordinary turn of events, Micheline Presle's real life daughter, film director Tonie Marshall, captured the career of Gaultier in the documentary The Falbalas of Jean Paul Gaultier (2004), also screening in this season. This was the first documentary about Gaultier and Marshall retraces his private and professional development from his start at Pierre Cardin, to his first women's collection in 1977 and his infamous second collection for men in which he paraded skirts and set the tone for what was to come.
Enter the world of Jean Paul Gaultier, the designer who shook the world of fashion with such innovations as the tin can bracelet and corsets as outerwear, at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Jean Paul Gaultier on Film.
Jean Paul Gaultier on Film runs from Thursday 11 March - Friday 19 March at ACMI.
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