Jean Paul Gaultier

Who is Jean Paul Gaultier?

About Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier is a French haute couture and prèt-a-porter fashion designer.  He is described as an “enfant terrible” of the fashion industry.

Jean Paul Gaultier was introduced to the world of fashion at an early age by his maternal grandmother Marie Garage.

He never received any formal training as a designer, but he sent sketches to famous couture stylists and through his persistence he was hired as an assistant in 1970 and had various posts including managing a boutique in Manila for a year despite the fact he was noticeably young and inexperienced.

Gaultier’s first individual collection



Gaultier’s first individual collection was released in 1976 and although most people found his designs decadent at the time, fashion editors notably Melka Trèanton of Elle and Claude Brouet and Catherine Lardeur of French Marie Claire, were impressed by his creativity and mastery of tailoring and later launched his career.

BinBag Dresses

In 1980 he designed women’s dresses out of plastic bin bags.  Gaultier founded his eponymous fashion label in 1982 and in 1983 he launched his collection “Boy Toy” which relaunched the marinière for men. His garments were on sale in New York as soon as 1984 and the term “Gaultiered” was coined to describe the classic pieces that were reinterpreted by the designer.

Skirts for men(Kilts)

Kilts & Madonna

During the 1984 Autumn London and Paris fashion shows, Jean Paul Gaultier introduced his line of skirts for men (kilts) that stirred a bit of controversy. In 1984 he also introduced the iconic women’s corset, with cone bra.

Desperately seeking susan

In the 1985 movie Desperately Seeking Susan, Madonna wore a skirt with men’s suspenders she had bought from Gaultier. 


In 1988 besides his ready-to-wear collection, Gaultier expanded his brand to include the label Junior Gaultier, a lower priced line of products. The Junior Gaultier outfit was selected by Jeff Banks as the Dress of the Year.  At the end of the 1980s he invented a new look for the French accordionist Yvette Horner which launched her career and in 1990 he designed Madonna’s clothes for her Blonde Ambition World Tour.

In 1993 Gaultier launched a line of fragrances named Classique.

 Classique is described as an oriental women’s fragrance identified by the combination of a ‘sweet, warm powdery base’ and flowery or spicy notes.

The Eau de Parfum Classique contains top notes of rose and rum with middle notes of narcissus and vanilla orchid and base notes of vanilla, amber, tonka bean and sandalwood.

The bottle design, a female torso wearing a pink corset has been compared to the corset Gaultier designed for Madonna in 1990 for her world tour.  The fragrance is packaged in an aluminium can, a motif he has used in his collection since 1980.  Jean Paul Gaultier felt that “it was in some way a kind of provocation to put it into something industrial” and noted that some perfume shops did not offer the fragrance because it was “scandalous”.

Jean Paul Gaultier designed fragrances for both men and women to include:

Le Male

This is an amber fougere fragrance for men with top notes of lavender, mint, cardamom, bergamot and artemisia with middle notes of cinnamon, orange blossom, and caraway together with base notes of vanilla. tonka bean, amber, sandalwood and cedar.

 Ultra Male

A sweet and spicy scent ideal for Autumn and Winter comprising top notes of pear, lavender, mint, bergamot and lemon with middle notes of cinnamon, clary sage and caraway and base notes of black vanilla husk, amber, patchouli and cedar.

Le Beau for Men


This is a chypre floral fragrance for women. Scandal was launched in 2017 and has top notes of blood orange and mandarin orange with middle notes of honey, gardenia, orange blossom, jasmine and peach together with base notes of beeswax, parchouli, caramel and liquorice.

La Belle

La Belle is an amber, vanilla fragrance for women and was launched in 2019 with top notes of pear and bergamot and middle notes of floral notes and leather together with base notes of vanilla, vetiver, amber and musk.

In 1994 the Junior Gaultier label was replaced JPG by Gaultier which was a unisex collection that followed the designer’s idea of fluidity of the sexes. 

Gaultier Jeans which was a similar line consisting mainly of denim and more simply styled garments with a heavy street influence.  Junior Gaultier’s name was reused in 2009 for the launching of the child’s wear, to be completed with a Baby Line in 2011.


In 2011 The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Maison Jean Paul Gaultier organised an exhibit, “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk”. 

That exhibit is on tour with venues at the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design in Stockholm, the Brooklyn Museum in New York City, the Barbican Centre in London, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne and the Grand Palais in Paris. In 2012 Gaultier participated in the Cali ExpoShow in Colombia showing his extensive collection of perfumes and classic clothes.


Up until 2014 he designed for three collections – his own couture and ready-to-wear lines for both men and women. In 2015 he announced he was closing his ready-to-wear labels to focus on haute couture. In 2016 he designed more than 500 costumes for the revue THE ONE Grand Show in Berlin.

In 2018 he staged a cabaret show that was loosely based on his life called “Fashion Freak Show” which took place at the Folies Bergere theatre in Paris. 

On 17th January 2020 Jean Paul Gaultier announced that his next Paris haute couture fashion show would be his last and that he was retiring from the runway

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