LGBTQ Heroes: Jean Paul Gaultier

Fashion's bad boy embraces a new chapter in his career.

LGBTQ Heroes: Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier is an haute couture and prêt-à-porter fashion designer.

Gaultier founded his eponymous fashion label in 1982, and was the creative director for French luxury house Hermès from 2003–2010.

He retired following his 50th-anniversary haute couture show during Paris Fashion Week in January 2020.

Early life

Born in 1952, Gaultier grew up in Paris.

He didn’t undertake formal training as a designer, but got his start in the industry by sending sketches to couture stylists. His first big break was when Pierre Cardin hired him as an assistant in 1970.

Career

Gaultier’s first individual collection was released in 1976.

His focus on street-wear and an embrace of popular culture helped to generate publicity and build his brand.

Gaultier was the creative director of Hermès from 2003 to 2010.

He retired following his 50th-anniversary haute couture show during Paris Fashion Week in January 2020.

Madonna

One of the defining moments of Gaultier’s career was the cone bra that he created for Madonna’s 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour.

Personal life

In 1990, Gaultier lost his long-time partner Francis Menuge to AIDS-related illness.