Advertisement

'I love British old ladies!': Fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier would 'love' to dress the Queen

  • Video report by ITV News Arts Editor Nina Nannar

He can talk. Really talk.

And after five decades in the businesses, Jean Paul Gaultier has lost none of his enthusiasm about his industry.

Ahead of his arrival in the UK next week for his Fashion Freak Show at the Southbank Centre in London, we were invited to Paris, to his Haute Couture Salon no less, where the rich and famous come to try on the bespoke outfits he has designed for them.

And he has an anecdote for every outfit.

For example, the conical bra design that Madonna made famous but which he actually created first for his teddy bear. Yes, his teddy bear.

From the first designs he created as a teenager, to his current collection on display in his salon, his five decades in fashion have had a huge impact on the industry.

His Freak Show - part catwalk event, part revue - is designed to be a spectacular retelling of his life; the ups and downs, the sadnesses and successes.

  • Jean Paul Gaultier on British fashion:

I've seldom thought so hard about what to wear to an interview.

I opted for my second hand designer dress from a charity shop (£30), as I anticipate fashion sustainability is bound to come up, and I want to show off my commitment to the cause.

Fashion houses should stop putting out so many collections each year, he agrees.

It encourages us to have too many clothes - the designs are quickly copied by so-called fast fashion outlets for cheap consumption.

Gaultier was dubbed the enfant terrible of fashion in his early days, but today it's the older generations he is talking about.

He says he'd love to put on a fashion show for older people and have the elderly walk the catwalks.

He believes no-one has been convinced by his plan because we don't want to focus on what we will look like in years to come.

His dream model?

Actually, he swoons over one of the most famous older people in the world.

"The Queen. Her style is impeccable. I love British old ladies," he exclaims. Would he like to dress the monarch? "Yes why not?" he says, "I'd love that."

I picture Her Majesty in his trademark stripey Breton jersey... Maybe not.

There is a significance to Jean Paul bringing his Freak Show to London.

Quite simply the styles he saw here during the punk explosion of the early 80s inspired him to be daring and try something different.

While we have always taken French fashion and style to be inspirational, beautiful, world leading, Jean Paul Gaultier has a different take.

There is a snobbishness and even blandness to French Chic he says, but in Britain we are apparently much better at expressing ourselves through our fashion. Even in Paris it can be boring, he says. Sacrilegious surely?

But this is Jean Paul Gaultier, outspoken, individual, and funny.

And he's bringing all that over here from the 23rd of July until the beginning of August.

Oh, and he never even noticed my dress - or maybe he did but didn't like to say.