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Recently, the esteemed French designer Jean Paul Gaultier made a special visit to Toronto to speak at Toronto Fashion Week Spring 2018. The Yorkville-based event featured a panel sponsored by FIJI Water, where Gaultier engaged in conversation with American writer Derek Blasberg. Real Style was in attendance at the talk, and had an opportunity to hear Gaultier address the crowds.
The 65-year-old Parisian design talent delved into his humble roots and unlikely upbringing. Growing up with modest means, he could not afford fashion magazines, but was in fact creatively inspired by the wardrobe of his grandmother. Despite his lack of formal design training or education, Gaultier later went on to work with names like Pierre Cardin, Jacques Esterel and Patou. He also spoke about his experience dressing Madonna during the 1990s. In 1990, Gaultier famously outfitted the pop diva in her iconic cone bra corset, which has since become symbolic of Madonna’s unconventional and sexy style. During the conversation, he touched upon his various inspirations, including the legendary New Look created by fellow French designer Christian Dior.
Perhaps turning his keen sartorial eye to modern day, Gaultier was also asked by Blasberg what he thought of the challenges faced by women of colour and women of different sizes in fashion. The designer cited rapper Nicki Minaj as a contemporary celebrity example. Whether reflecting on his start in fashion or asked to question the future, the design legend brought high energy and charisma to the stage in Toronto. With a reputation for seductive pieces which emphasize the feminine silhouette, Gaultier proved that pushing boundaries can lead to an impressive Hollywood following, without having to sacrifice personal style.
Photo: George Pimentel for Toronto Fashion Week