Friday, 15 July 2011


 Jean Paul Gaultier (Photo by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, courtesy MMFA)

(July 15) I hustled hard for an interview with fashion icon Jean Paul Gaultier for 18 months. And while almost all of the international press only got sound bites at his French and English press conferences to launch the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ terrific exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, I managed to score a long, comprehensive interview with the openly-gay French couturier for Canada’s gay press.

Gaultier happily discussed everything from Madonna to AIDS to singer Beth Ditto of the rock band The Gossip who once notoriously complained to London’s NME magazine, “If there’s anyone to blame for size zero, it’s not women. Blame gay men!”

“I think everybody is beautiful and has a different kind of beauty,” Gaultier replied in my interview published today in Toronto’s Xtra. “It is always a question of perception and of presentation. Beth Ditto is fascinating by the way she moves and assumes her body. She represents freedom. She comes from a small town in the US, is voluptuous and openly gay. She is very sexy. I have used a lot of plus-size models in my show. They are part of the society, so why not of the fashion world?”

While Gaultier believes women are dressing more for themselves these days rather than for men, he says straight men are also becoming much more style-savvy.

“I think all men should show more their sensitive side, to show more their bodies and shapes,” he explains. “It is not a question of gay or straight. Both can have good and bad taste! I think straight men are getting better with their style. [But] gay men are [still] more aware of what suits them best in some cases, because they have this sensitivity.”

Gaultier will also return Montreal for the MMFA and Just For Laughs Festival’s downtown Pinkarnaval Parade honouring Gaultier this weekend, on July 16 (the theme is Gaultier’s signature use of stripes).

It’s clear the man loves Montreal, as well as this city’s famed and infamous gay male strip joints, where he has been spotted many times over the years.  Says Gaultier, “It must be my twin brother you saw!”

Gaultier has much, much more to say, including about Madonna. You can read the whole interview here in Toronto's Xtra.

You can also read it in French in  Montreal's Fugues magazine by clicking here.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
Until October 2 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1379 Sherbrooke Street West)

Pinkarnaval Parade, July 16
The Pinkarnaval Show, July 17
Place des Festivals

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