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Jean Paul Gaultier
Jean-Paul Gaultier (born April 24, 1952, in Arcueil) is a French fashion designer and past television presenter. Gaultier never received formal training as a designer. Instead, he started sending sketches to famous couture stylists at an early age. Pierre Cardin was impressed by his talent and hired him as an assistant in 1970. His first individual collection was released in 1976 and his characteristic irreverent style dates from 1981, and he has long been known as the enfant terrible (bad boy) of French fashion. Many of Gaultier's following collections have been based on street wear, focusing on popular culture, whereas others, particularly his Haute Couture collections, are very formal yet at the same time unusual and playful. Jean-Paul Gaultier produced sculptured costumes for Madonna during the nineties and has also worked in close collboration with Wolford Hosiery. He popularized the use of skirts, especially kilts on men's wardrobe, and the release of designer collections. Gaultier caused shock by using unconventional models for his exhibitions, like old and fat women, pierced and heavily tattooed models, and by playing with traditional gender roles in the shows. This granted him both criticism and enormous popularity. Gaultier also designed the wardrobe of many motions pictures, including Luc Besson's The Fifth Element, Pedro Almodóvar's Kika, Peter Greenaway's The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's La Cité des enfants perdus (The City of Lost Children). Madonna's Blond Ambition Tour (including the iconic cone bra) also featured his creations. He currently designs for three collections: his own couture and ready-to-wear lines, as well as the newly relaunched clothing line for Hermes, a French leather goods company well-known for their equestrian background, scarves, and expensive and difficult to obtain handbags. Jean-Paul Gaultier is also known for a popular line of perfumes. His first fragrance, Classique, a women's floral-oriental, was introduced in 1993, followed by Le Mâle for men two years later. Both were highly successful, and Le Mâle is now the number-one men's fragrance in the European Union based on sales; it also holds a strong market position in Australia and the United States. His third fragrance, the women's fragrance Fragile, was introduced in 2000; however, it is now in limited distribution due to poor sales. Most recently, the unisex "fragrance for humanity" Gaultier² (pronounced Gaultier to the power of two) was launched in 2005 in most countries except Canada, where it was launched in January 2006 at Holt Renfrew; and the United States, where it will be launched nationally in May 2006. Interestingly, the US launch has been timed to coincide with Madonna's Confessions concert tour, for which Gaultier has designed costumes.
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