Designer Dossier: Jean Paul Gaultier

Fashion's original enfant terrible is taking his school boy tactics and incredible talent on a world tour.

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August 15, 2008 5:19 PM
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jean paul gaultier
Ron Galella, Ltd
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Designer Dossier: Jean Paul Gaultier

VIVE LA FRANCE!
"What is Nirvana?" asks the 56-year-old Frenchman. "It's Hermès! I like to twist their centuries-old codes a little and put in some Gaultier. For my first collection, I designed a leather corset with clasps reminiscent of the Kelly bag."
hermes runway show the urban turban
Michelle Leung
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Designer Dossier: Jean Paul Gaultier

INDIAN SUMMER
Hermès's 2008 spring/summer line is aptly called "Fantaisies Indiennes" — with luxe croc jodhpurs and terrycloth turbans secured with Hermès belts just for starters. "A visit to India is always emotional for me," says the designer. "I'm particularly sensitive to the rich colors. What a pleasure to reinterpret the sari, which for me remains the very essence of clothing." For the runway show, Gaultier sprinkled the crowd with red pigments, like Indians do during the festival of Holi.

Designer Dossier: Jean Paul Gaultier

A CLASSIC ICONOCLAST
As out-there as Gaultier can get — the iconic cone bra for Madonna; the scaly mermaid dress Best Actress winner Marion Cotillard wore to this year's Oscars; the skirts (and a new cosmetics line) for men — no one crafts classic riding coats and boots like he does for the venerable 171-year-old house of Hermès. (OK, so the boots are hot-pink crocodile.) Now navigating three lines (his own label's haute couture and ready-to-wear, plus Hermès), fashion's buoyant bad boy, ever-clad in sailor stripes, still rules fashion's tumultuous waves.
marion cotillard oscar winner
D. Macmedan
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Designer Dossier: Jean Paul Gaultier

La Vie en Rose's Marion Cotillard, with her Oscar, in Gaultier.

Fall 2008 Runway Looks

Plaid — Jean Paul Gaultier
Kristen Schaefer
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Heidi Klum Behind The Scenes Cover Shoot

CAMO COUTURE A billowing, feathered tutu and vest by Jean Paul Gaultier.
Jeff Westbrook
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Designer Dossier: Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier men's bronzing powder, $40; bloomingdales.com.