FMP Artist Research – Jean Paul Gaultier

After a 1:1 with my tutor Corinne, she recommended that I look at designers who work with corsets, and one that immediately came to mind was Jean Paul Gaultier as they have created some iconic corsets over the years.

Jean Paul Gaultier has produced many sculptured pieces throughout the years, and this is what I am most interested in because it links to what I possibly want to produce with my work. Either way, this research on him will link to my FMP very well. He created sculptured costumes for Madonna throughout the 1990s, and this is what his corsets are most famous for. This started with her famous cone bra for her 1990 Blonde Ambition World Tour and more recently, he designed the wardrobe for her 2006 Confessions Tour. The structure of the designs that he has produced for Madonna is what interests me the most because structured and strong corset like pieces are very controversial, just like Madonna is anyway. The question is, is she wearing this through choice or because of the pressures society puts on women to look good? Well for me, it could be a mix of both with the added fact that it is a performance costume so it is going to be dramatic, but the whole backstory of corsets and the reasons why they were wore also link anyway. He has created several cone breasted shaped designs along with a few bustier-style garments which is hopefully going to influence my project depending on what route I want to go down.

The concept behind these so called ‘corset conique’ was to glorify women as ‘objects of power’. The bustier reasserts the hyper-femininity mocked by the first wave of feminism in the 1970s. According to the designer himself, Madonna actually explained her reasons as to why she dressed they way she did in Jean Paul Gaultier’s designs – she said “Yes, I am going to dress sexy, but I am the one deciding to do it”. That is one of the main things about feminism for me, the choice. Providing women with the choice to do certain things that have been judged in the past is vital and extremely important. I like that I could get this vibe straight away from his designs, that yes, they are sexy and tight to the skin, but the models and the aura from the garments suggest that women, or men for that matter, are choosing to wear this because they want to.

I may go down the corset route myself and researching Jean Paul Gaultier and the fact that he has made corsets and bustiers out of different fabrics like pink satin, linen and leather shows that they are all easily manipulated and making a simpler version shouldn’t be too hard, even though I haven’t made one before so I don’t really know what to expect. Also, the fact that his creation of the different types of corsets actually influenced other designers such as Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano for Dior to attempt to put their own spin on the classic corset, like layering it on top of other garments shows that he truly is an iconic designer and the corset is something he is very well known for.

The concept of the sexual freedom of women really links well into my FMP and people like Madonna made Jean Paul Gaultiers designs of tight fitting, constricted corsets and over the top structures look very liberating, which is what the concept of feminism should be all about. So, from this research, I am hoping to take bits of the both concept and the actual garments forward.

Below are my references for this research:

Toni ♥


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