Jean-Paul Gaultier is the first fashion master to join the Jury of the Festival de Cannes: “l’Enfant terrible” of the fashion, who has worked for a number of films, from Besson to Almodovar.
Your vocation as a fashion designer began after you saw Falbalas, by Jacques Beker. As things have turned out, has your career been anything like the film?
It’s absolutely crazy! I have watched myself live Falbalas! Fortunately, there is no scene where he falls out the window and goes crazy… I saw the film again and I realised that I really experienced the moment when he shows the clothes and says “yeah, not bad… “. The way he says it, I felt like I was watching myself, it’s strange! I say that my vocation comes from the film but in fact, it was later that I realised that Falbalas had made such an impression on me.
You dressed Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element and you have worked three times with Pedro Almodovar. Is there another director whose world inspires you and whom you would like to work with?
They have a visual world, colors and a particular aestheticism. I love Carax, for example, tending toward dream. I also like Tim Burton, but his world is so precise and marked that there would not be much room for the designer’s imagination.
You have caught the fashion world off balance by breaking the codes, or at least by imposing your own. Is this the approach you expect from a filmmaker?
When I watch a film, I expect some kind of rebellion. That is what I love about Almodovar who turns up in places you don’t expect to find him and who doesn’t hesitate to break the codes. I like the forms of rebellion where somebody kicks tradition in the teeth, about what we are supposed to do and not supposed to do. What I find exciting is when there are surprises and barriers are overcome.
Fashion and glamour are also part of the Festival de Cannes. Do you remember an outfit that made an impression on you on the Red Carpet?
Wasn’t it la Cicciolina who once came naked under a veil some twenty years ago? Other that, no, except for myself, when I showed up twice in shorts and they wouldn’t let me in!
In your own way, in a fashion show, you direct your models, your atmosphere, you tell a story through the art of fashion. Could you do it in film?
No, that’s another kind of work. And having worked with directors, I realise how difficult it is. It’s a weight on your shoulders that would kill me! I don’t think I have the strength to direct actors, the psychology, your images that you want to impose… I prefer to collaborate and suggest.
© Cannes Film Festival website