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Jean Paul Gaultier talks about his fashion career

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Jean Paul Gaultier talks about his fashion career. French haute couture and prêt-à-porter fashion designer, Jean Paul Gaultier knew he wanted to be a designer at nine years old after he watched a show with his relatives. The 65-year-old fashion mogul – who launched his first clothing line in 1976 – has admitted after watching a cabaret show as a child he was inspired to start creating extravagant garments, although he was ridiculed by his school teacher for his creations.  The creative mastermind told WWD: “You know how it all started for me? As a child I was often at my grandma’s — Mémé Garabé — and she used to let me watch anything on TV. I remember one night, I was nine years old, and they were screening the premiere of the Folies Bergère. It was in black and white and there used to only be one channel back then. There was the director of the theater and his wife, who was very well-dressed, and then down from the ceiling came these two dancers in fishnets, ostrich feathers and glittering diamonds, like an apparition. I was transfixed, I found it so beautiful.  “That night I put some feathers on my teddy bear, Nana, then the next day during class at school I started daydreaming and did a sketch of the dancers in their outfits, but the teacher spotted me. She made me stand up, rapped my knuckles with a ruler, made me stand on a platform and tacked the sketch to my back using safety pins — so already very punk. To humiliate me, she made me do a tour of all the classrooms, only it had the opposite effect.”  However, the former creative director of Hermès – who held the title at the fashion house for seven years from 2003 – has admitted the unforgettable moment only spurred him on further as his schoolmates would ask Gaultier to make pieces for them.  He continued: “The kids were all smiling and laughing and asking me to do sketches for them. It’s at that point that I realized, as the kid who had always been rejected for not being good at soccer, that the key to being liked was doing sketches. After that I would go to see all of the productions and operettas in Paris; it was all those dreamy things on TV that made me fall in love with this idea of the show.” And the French star has admitted London has also inspired his garments. He added: “London was a major inspiration, not only for the clothes but the sense of freedom.” And Gaultier thinks he has made a “good job” of his career, although he thinks there is a “lot of resistance” in the fashion industry.  Speaking about his career, he said: “I like to think I’ve made a good job of it. It’s good that [there is more support of diversity] but there is still a lot of resistance. I never saw it as fighting for a cause, though, for me it was spontaneous; I was doing what felt natural to me. I felt a part of it. I have always been attracted to what is new, interesting, funny, creative, the good things that were happening at that time in the world.”

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