Where other fashion designers simply send their models onto the catwalk, Jean Paul Gaultier put together an entire freak show. He has been touring the world with his “Fashion Freak Show” for several years. For the documentary filmmaker Yann L’Hénoret, this is a reason to accompany Gaultier in the preparations for this mammoth project. More about the end result JEAN PAUL GAULTIER: FREAK & CHIC we reveal in our review.
One of countless numbers within the “Fashion Freak Show”, inspired by Jean Paul Gaultier’s life.
That’s what it’s about
Jean Paul Gaultier is still considered one of the most remarkable fashion designers of our time. With his magnificent “Fashion Freak Show”, an eccentric mix of fashion show, variety show, circus and dance performance, he caused a stir around the world. Even outside the fashion business. The creation of this glamorous event, with which Gaultier and his team continue to tour the world to this day, took over two years. Now the designer regularly immerses his viewers in a provocative universe that is intended to bring the audience a little closer to the persona of Jean Paul Gaultier himself. With his visionary designs, high-style choreographies, pulsating music, extravagant costumes and elaborate staging, the master explores the boundaries of the fashion scene – and “Jean Paul Gaultier: Freak & Chic” is up close and personal.
Movie meaning of Jean Paul Gaultier: Freak & Chic
A conventional biopic or a poppy documentary about Jean Paul Gaultier – that would simply not do justice to the dazzling fashion designer and designer Jean Paul Gaultier. As a man, a rather inconspicuous presence who, unlike colleagues like Karl Lagerfeld or Donatella Versace, does not walk around at least as eccentrically as one would expect given his profession, it was primarily the designs themselves with which Gaultier drew attention to himself. Shortly before the creation of his “Fashion Freak Show”, Gaultier only designed fashion for haute couture; In other words, fashion that today draws its appeal primarily from being displayed on stands at fashion shows around the world. Fashion as a work of art. Unlike prêt-à-porter fashion, which should (also) be suitable for everyday use. Gaultier himself says at one point in the film that his time as a great fashion designer is over since he only creates haute couture fashion. At the same time, this fascination for eccentricity also laid the foundation for his particularly extraordinary creations, which he now regularly shows off in his “Fashion Freak Show”.
Fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier preparing for the show.
Unlike the recent no less successful documentary “Alexander McQueen” about the fashion designer of the same name, the film about Gaultier does not cover his entire work, but rather focuses clearly on the preparations and problems for the “Fashion Freak Show”. Nevertheless, the career of the now 57-year-old man is not neglected. The reason: The designer drew inspiration for the various stage numbers from his own life. It’s about his coming out, his time as an outsider at school, his true love, the fear of HIV and AIDS, and sexual preferences. In the hands of the countless choreographers, singers and dancers, all of it becomes a kaleidoscope of freakiness and chicness – hence the very apt title for the documentary: “Freak & Chic”; Both in the show and in Jean Paul Gaultier himself, these two opposing terms culminate in Gaultier’s very own style and feel for colors, shapes and beauty. Because the latter is always in the eye of the beholder.
Unfortunately, you don’t get to see much of the finished show. One of the few criticisms of “Jean Paul Gaultier: Freak & Chic”, although understandable. After all, a documentary like this is always advertising for people to ultimately visit the show on site and not just on the big screen. This is the making of, which at times could also be a making of for Gaspar Noé’s “Climax” , so much of the focus here is on the cult of the body, sex and togetherness. Documentary filmmaker Yann L’Hénoret (“Emmanuel Macron: les coulisses d’une victoire”) repeatedly enriches the behind-the-scenes footage with anecdotes from Gaultier’s life. For example, when one of the show numbers recreates an event from Gaultier’s school days or explains why it is so important to the designer to make his commitment to AIDS relief clear during every show. Companions such as Madonna also have their say, leaving no doubt that Jean Paul Gaultier is still a genius in his field. After the film you want to buy a ticket for the “Fashion Freak Show” yourself – and suddenly you see the big world of fashion with completely different eyes.
Conclusion: “Jean Paul Gaultier: Freak & Chic” accompanies the fashion designer and his team during the two-year preparation of the so-called “Fashion Freak Show” and provides new insights into the understanding of fashion and beauty, but also into the life of Jean Paul Gaultier himself. A must-see not just for fashion lovers!
“Jean Paul Gaultier: Freak & Chic” has been suspended indefinitely.