Jean-Paul Gaultier: Freak and Chic

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France | 2019 | 100 minutes | Yann L’Henoret

Any designer can stage a runway show, but possibly only Gaultier could pull off a “Fashion Freak Show” at the Folies Bergère. Go behind the scenes of the fashion innovator's most outrageous project yet.

Inspired even as a boy by the Folies Bergere, the legendary Paris cabaret venue (open exactly 150 years, btw, as of May 2), couturier Jean-Paul Gaultier always wanted to stage a show there. "But what story can I tell?" he muses in this doc about the six months of preparation that went into the show. "Mine." Combining fashion with film, dance, theater, and unapologetic over-the-top-ness, the revue, which opened last October 2, offers a 40-year career retrospective of the designer who is practically never spoken of without using the phrase enfant terrible. Notorious among cinephiles for his costumes for The Fifth Element and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover and among pop fans for Madonna's pointy cone brassiere, he also incorporated teddy bears and S&M fetish gear as design motifs. In the show, the fanciful and outrageous (a gown with a train so long it has to be rolled along behind the model on a clothes rack) meets the naughtily witty (a skit sending up Vogue dragon lady Anna Wintour) and the poignant (a tribute to his partner Francis Menuge, who died in 1990). It also nods fabulously to the Bergere's own history: A tribute to '20s star Josephine Baker features her iconic banana skirt, this time encrusted with Swarovski crystals.

Director Biography
From Emmanuel Macron's presidential election to the Olympic gold medalist Teddy Riner, Yann L'Henoret's subjects are manifold. L'Henoret's TV documentary on Macron drew international interest in 2017 for its exclusive access to the then president-elect's rise, and his 2016 film on Riner was shown at Cannes Film Festival. 

Sponsored by Alliance Française de Seattle, French American School of Puget Sound, Pacific Place, The Stranger

  • Director: Yann L’Henoret
  • Premiere Status: US Premiere
  • Country: France
  • Year: 2019
  • Running Time: 100 minutes
  • Filmography: Emmanuel Macron: les coulisses d’une victoire (Doc., 2017); Dans l’ombre de Teddy Rinner (Doc., 2016)
  • Language: French
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: The Festival Agency