French de­signer to make racy show of his life

Cou­turier Gaultier prom­ises glam­our and dark mo­ments in project’s in­ter­na­tional tour


PARIS— All the corsets, sparkle and provo­ca­tion of French cou­turier Jean Paul Gaultier are com­ing to a theatre near you. The 65-year-old an­nounced Wed­nes­day that he has a racy, mu­sic­filled “show” in the works for fall 2018 — in which he will retell his colour­ful life from his roots as a nascent-de­signer to achiev­ing world­wide fame.

“This show is the story of my life,” the de­signer said in­side his Paris ate­lier dur­ing an in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press.

Gaultier will draw from the peo­ple who have in­spired his fash­ions — from film­mak­ers to pop stars — for the re­vue-style pro­duc­tion that will com­bine singing, danc­ing and act­ing and ful­fil his child­hood dream of mak­ing theatre.

He plans to take the pro­duc­tion — called “Fash­ion Freak Show” — on an in­ter­na­tional tour after it de­buts in Paris in Oct. 2018.

Al­though the show is not yet fully writ­ten, around half of the cast and pro­duc­tion staff has been cho­sen since he started work­ing on the project two years ago.

“It starts in 1976 — not my birth date, my first col­lec­tion,” said the hu­mour-prone de­signer in a play­ful French ac­cent.

It will, he said, snake through four decades of his life — “dif­fer­ent pe­ri­ods of my ca­reer”— from his dress­ing up of his child­hood teddy bear age 9, to the city of Paris in the heady ’80s and on to his col­lab­o­ra­tion with Madonna for whom he de­signed the famed Blond Am­bi­tion tour corset.

With ex­u­ber­ance, the de­signer showed the AP pre­views of shiny, geo­met­ric corsets that were de­signed for Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Bey­oncé and worn by all three.

“It’s all go­ing in. Ev­ery­thing,” Gaultier said of the gar­ments.

The show also will fea­ture a sur­prise celebrity ap­pear­ance, he said.

But Gaultier, whose sense of hu­man­ity is al­ways pal­pa­ble even through his hu­mour, said the show will also touch on the dark­est mo­ments of his life.

In1990, he was dev­as­tated when his part­ner, Fran­cis Menuge, died of com­pli­ca­tions from AIDS.

“At that mo­ment, I thought that maybe I should stop (do­ing) fash­ion . . . I wanted to stop. And, after I said ‘no,’ it is not pos­si­ble. I’ll go on be­cause (it was) our baby, what we had done to­gether,” he said.

He said the epi­demic that rav­aged the gay com­mu­nity on both sides of the At­lantic should not be for­got­ten, and ed­u­ca­tion about the im­pact of the ill­ness must con­tinue.

With Gaultier, se­ri­ous sub­jects flit back and forth with quirky ones — and some­times both merge.

Pos­ing on a fluffy bridal car­riage de­signed for his most re­cent haute cou­ture show, Gaultier also said that the show will fea­ture “a gay mar­riage.”

It will ref­er­ence the di­vi­sive protests against the same-sex mar­riage law ap­proved in France in 2012.

Tick­ets for the show go on sale Nov. 9.


Jean Paul Gaultier de­signed Madonna’s fa­mous Blond Am­bi­tion tour corset.


Jean Paul Gaultier says the theatre pro­duc­tion is in the works for fall 2018.

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