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French Fashion Rebels

avril-2012-®RAINERTORRADO

Designer Jean Paul Gaultier has written an exclusive article for CNN Style on the ground-breaking French designers who have shaped France’s style, in a commission by guest editor, Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing. Gaultier includes Pierre Cardin, André Courrèges, Paco Rabanne and Yves Saint Laurent as designers who shaped France’s style.

ON NOT HAVING A FORMAL EDUCATION:

“I didn’t go to fashion school. I’ve been against formal education ever since I discovered Santa Claus isn’t real. So everything I learned about fashion growing up, came from reading magazines and looking at photos.”

ON BEING PROUD OF FRANCE’S FASHION HISTORY:

“I’m very proud to be from France, which has given the world so many pioneering designers… It’s impossible to deny that contemporary fashion’s roots are in this country (France).”

ON THE LATEST GENERATION OF FRENCH DESIGNERS:

“Olivier Rousteing makes beautiful clothes for beautiful people at Balmain.”

ON PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF FASHION AND AVOIDING CONVENTION:

“I’ve always tried to be honest and push boundaries in the same way as those before. I never wanted to dress the classic, elegant type and I realised early on in my career that what the critics say is chic isn’t always so.”

ON THE FRENCH FASHION PRESS IGNORING HIM AT THE START OF HIS CAREER:

“When I started designing for myself in 1976, many found my work too sexual, and for a long time the French fashion press ignored me.”

ON BEING ACCEPTED BY THE FASHION WORLD:

“The French press hasn’t criticised me nearly as much over the last 20 years — making me question whether I’m doing something wrong!”

ON THE IMPACT OF GLOBALISATION ON FASHION:

“Like war and occupation shaped the 40’s, and the sexual revolution changed the world in the 60’s, globalisation has changed the landscape of today.”

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF PARIS FASHION WEEK:

“Now more than ever, Paris Fashion Week is where the world’s most talented and provocative strive to build their brands and share their point of view because they know what Paris represents: creativity, audacity and, still, prestige.”

ON DESIGNER PIERRE CARDIN:

“One of the industry’s top innovators. I’d always admired Cardin because he seemed like such a showman. He was so free, doing these geometric, sometimes abstract designs that were like architecture, which he had studied before he went into fashion.”

ON DESIGNER ANDRÉ COURRÈGES:

“From early on I was always under the impression that he was starting a revolution.”

ON DESIGNER PACO RABANNE:

“I loved Paco Rabanne, who invented the incredible metallic dress. It was everywhere, worn by all the major yé-yé singers — the rock and roll girls of France — and Brigitte Bardot and Barbarella also wore Paco Rabanne.”

ON DESIGNER YVES SAINT LAURENT:

“Yves Saint Laurent… was always different from the others. He was scandalous and really reflected change — the sexual revolution, the rise of liberal beliefs in France — in a glamorous way. He approached innovation fabulously, showing a woman in a suit, but without sacrificing her femininity.”

 

Courtesy of CNN Style.

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