Stroll with Jean-Paul Gaultier in “CinéMode”, his story of a liberated woman …

Too tight in “short fashion”, Jean-Paul Gaultier opens up to other horizons, showing in an exhibition in Paris the rise of women, from Marilyn Monroe to the “super-heroine” of the film Titanium, the last Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. “Feminist, I always have been. I wanted to show the evolution of women and men in cinema and in fashion. The man who becomes more feminine and the woman who gains more and more power and freedom, ”says the 69-year-old couturier.

“CinéMode”, an exhibition by Jean-Paul Gaultier at the French Cinémathèque, whose theme is “the mixture of genres” while showing the rise to power of women. Stéphane de Sakutin / AFP

We stroll through the scaffolding with Jean-Paul Gaultier – curator like any other – through “CinéMode”, which is held at the Cinémathèque française. Room after room, the film-loving couturier, who made costumes for Pedro Almodovar or Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element, tells himself and delivers his story of the liberation of women with extracts from the films, photos and outfits he had chosen. . The opportunity to look at two great sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s: Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot. “At the same time, Brigitte Bardot was extremely modern, free. Marilyn is a woman object par excellence ”, assures Gaultier. Disheveled, “BB” goes into a trance while dancing: Gaultier is ecstatic in front of a scene from the film Et Dieu … crea la femme, by Roger Vadim. A sequence “insane for the 50s”!

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Brigitte Bardot’s wedding dress, pink with Vichy checks, is also on display. “She had an incredible fashion sense! »As well as a photo of her on a motorcycle in a perfecto and mini-shorts copying a look of Marlon Brando. In another photo, the actor is wearing a wet t-shirt that shows one shoulder. “He’s the first human object,” laughs the creator.

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Mixture of genres

“The theme is the mixture of genres, the mixture of styles, the poor with the rich, the popular with the aristocracy, extremes which meet, and which gives new babies. “

His other obsession: kissing women. Like Marlene Dietrich in a 1930s film. Or Catherine Deneuve and Fanny Ardant in Eight Women by François Ozon. “I really like the story of a fight that turns into a kiss. “The serial killer of Titanium, by Julia Ducournau, Palme d’Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, joins the gallery of super-heroines. “She is a remarkable heroine with a power beyond all male heroes. This film is a huge success, which shows a very strong woman in a very modern way, ”concludes Jean-Paul Gaultier.

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To everyone’s surprise, he bowed out after a grandiose parade in January 2020, after 50 years in the business. From now on, every season he invites a young designer to make a haute couture collection for him: after the Japanese Chitose Abe from Sacai, it will be the Belgian Glenn Martens from Y / Project. Fashion’s “enfant terrible”, how does he feel in his new clothes? “This is another step. I don’t want to do fashion anymore, he says. I feel like I’m making a new collection. It’s a new adventure, mixing fashion and cinema. ”

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A return to square one, because it was Jacques Becker’s film Falbalas (1945) that projected him into fashion. “I said to myself: I want to do this job! Why ? Because there was a parade (…) with spectators who applauded, who seemed to like the models, the projectors. “And to continue:” It was my bible, I did not go to fashion school, it was my education, a fabulous portrait of this world of couture “, with the actress Micheline Presle, mother of the director Tonie Marshall, who had prepared this exhibition with Jean-Paul Gaultier before his death in March 2020.

Olga NEDBAEVA / AFP

Too tight in “short fashion”, Jean-Paul Gaultier opens up to other horizons, showing in an exhibition in Paris the rise of women, from Marilyn Monroe to the “super-heroine” of the film Titanium, the last Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. “Feminist, I always have been. I wanted to show the evolution …

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Stroll with Jean-Paul Gaultier in “CinéMode”, his story of a liberated woman …

Hank Gilbert