Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier was "punished" for his first fashion designs.

The 64-year-old designer "fell in love" with theatre when he was just nine years old, but the sketches his passion inspired were deemed "not acceptable" and he got into trouble at school.

He recalled: "When I was a little boy, I watched a movie about wartime. It was a French one and the embodiment of this special feeling. This was the first time I fell in love: I fell in love with theatre. And the result was, I drew women wearing feather boas and fishnet stockings at the age of nine.

"It was not acceptable at that time. In fact, my teacher caught me and punished me for that. She glued the drawing on my back and made me walk through the class with it."

However, though he had few friends at school, the public shaming had the opposite effect as it drew other boys to Jean Paul because they wanted him to draw "pretty girls" for them.

He added to Refinery 29: "The other guys ignored me at that time -- I was not one of them. I failed at soccer and all the other sports [laughs]. Nevertheless, the punishment was helpful. The kids stopped laughing at me. Instead, they smiled at me and asked me to draw for them. All of a sudden, I had their respect, just because I was good at drawing pretty girls."

The legendary designer adores his work and has never been motivated by money - something he thinks has changed about the fashion industry in the last decade.

He said: "In fact, I did my first collection 40 years ago. I regarded fashion as a film, as an elegant movement image. It was all about the person wearing my designs. No matter how he or she looked, I wanted to show the inner beauty of the person.

"I had no money, but I realised my idea anyway.

"I'm blessed, I know. I do this not because of the money, but for the thrill.

"Ten years ago, the industry changed: Today, the money is more important, as well as advertising, and egos. [But] it's important to be honest with yourself and to stay motivated. Don't do things just because of the money."


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