Jean Paul Gaultier, ‘Helen Mirren in Peter Greenaway’s 1989 film The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover’, 1989, Brooklyn Museum

About Jean Paul Gaultier

“Too much comfort is not good for creation,” says Jean Paul Gaultier, the world-famous French fashion designer whose work has been bending gender norms and pushing the envelope since the 1970s. Entirely self-taught, Gaultier began his career working as an assistant to Pierre Cardin, before breaking out with his solo collections in the early ’80s. His predilection for incorporating elements of bondage and lingerie—as in his most iconic work, Madonna’s cone bra for her 1990 world tour—has earned the designer a reputation as an “enfant terrible” of the fashion industry, as have his fluid ideas of gender, evidenced most notably by his frequent use of skirts in menswear. “What is masculine and feminine anyway?” he has said. Gaultier spent seven years as creative director for Hermès and has designed wardrobes for several films; the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum have both mounted exhibitions devoted to his work.

French, b. 1952