Monday, Apr. 02, 2012

Jean Paul Gaultier

Aside from a stint at the wheel of French house Hermès from 2004 to 2010, the self-taught French designer has earned himself a reputation as one the fashion world's enfants terribles — most famously with the conical bra he designed for Madonna in the early '90s. Many suggest that Gaultier's genius stems from a relentless juxtaposition of forms: metal and leather paired with chiffon, men homoerotically bound in corsets (among other things), strong women depravedly strapped into S&M-inspired cuts of leather (like the revealing NSFW number donned by pinup girl Dita Von Teese in his fall-winter 2011 collection).

In fact, the theme of restriction surfaces again and again in Gaultier's work. But it is a theme that, in many ways, has given him the freedom to work outside fashion's traditional boundaries — a place where genius seems to find its wings.