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French dragon

Updated: 2012-05-28 17:19
By Gan Tian ( China Daily)
French dragon

Jean Paul Gaultier, French haute couture fashion designer.

French dragon

Jean Paul Gaultier displays his designs of androgynous style, with the use of bold colors and complicated details. Provided to China Daily

At 60, Jean Paul Gaultier is looking for something new in China. Gan Tian gets a preview of Gaultier's plans.

Jean Paul Gaultier is unconventional, famously so.

He wore a long feminine A-shaped skirt during a press conference in Beijing last week, wowing all his fans and reporters.

"I just had my 60th birthday. I know 60 is a lucky number in China. This year is the Year of Dragon, and I am a "dragon" myself, so I have to be here at this time," says the gray-haired French haute couture fashion designer.

Like Chinese astrology and ancient philosophy where life completes its full cycle at 60, Gaultier has gone full circle and is looking for something new. He wants to pay more attention to the Chinese market this year.

"I am only 60. I have a lot of opportunities working with Chinese fashion designers," he says.

For a start, he plans to bring his personal exhibition, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, to Beijing and Shanghai in the near future, before launching it in his homeland and favorite city, Paris.

The exhibition was held in Montreal Museum of Fine Arts last year.

Having designed the wardrobe for many motion pictures, including Luc Besson's The Fifth Element and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's The City of Lost Children, Gaultier also hopes to provide his touch to Chinese movies.

"I go to Festival de Cannes frequently. I can see that Chinese movies are very successful in France. I would like to collaborate with some Chinese films. Those from Wong Kar-wai and Ang Lee are amazing," he says.

Gaultier was in Beijing for his debut show, having paraded his masterpieces in Shanghai and Hong Kong, where he showcased more than 60 pieces of his brand of androgynous designs.

They were from his autumn/winter 2012-13 men's and women's collections. Those creations are also what he likes to wear, he says.

"London Calling", the men's collection includes the kilt, Gaultier's signature piece; the women's lines feature smart casual tight shirts with colorful biker jackets and trenches, which adds a very muscular and handsome note.

Gaultier brought with him his longtime muses to present these garments, including Tanel Bedrossiantz, Julia Schonberg and Andrej Pejic. These models are famous for their unisex style.

The show and party also attracted Chinese A-list celebrities, including singers Li Yuchun, Anthony Wong, actor Simon Yam, actresses Huang Yi and Jennifer Tse, some of whom are known for their unisex style, too.

"When Leslie Cheung was in Las Vegas, I went to his show, and enjoyed it very much," Gaultier says of the late Cheung, who was one of the most famous androgynous superstars from Hong Kong.

Gaultier uses the word "rebel" to describe his passion for the unisex style.

"In the world of fashion, a quiet personality would not bring you any fame. That is why I would like to be very rebellious, to be a 'bad boy'.

"I love fashion too much. A 'bad boy' inside would give me energy and power. After 40 years (of involvement in fashion), my hair turned gray and grew longer, but nothing else changes," he says.

The non-conformist designer brought skirts to men's wardrobes in 1985, creating a big buzz in the world's fashion industry.

Gaultier also spoke for feminism using his creations as his weapon. One of his most famous designs was a shining conical bra, which Madonna wore during the 1990 Blond Ambition Tour.

In 2006, he worked with Madonna again, producing a series of sexy leather costumes for her Confessions Tour, earning him enormous popularity.

His sexy and fabulous style attracts not only Madonna, but also Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue.

Although minimalism is the trend in recent years, Gaultier has never attempted to be part of it.

He prefers to use bold colors with very complicated details, like metal decorations, floral patterns and laces.

Reacting to a question by a fan in Beijing on the conflict between his design and minimalism, Gaultier said: "I believe fashion is never something to follow.

"It will always go back to the 1960s where everything was quite fabulous."