Gaultier strikes down macho stereotypes in his exhibition on cinema and fashion

Gaultier strikes down macho stereotypes in his exhibition on cinema and fashion

Fashion and cinema have always gone hand in hand. Sometimes from the more frivolous side, that of the red carpets, the glamor and the suits at award ceremonies. This has caused the power of costume design to be almost always forgotten, its ability to tell stories and show reality or even model it. Many of the most powerful images in film history are tied to a suit. Marilyn Monroe's skirt up Temptation lives above, Audrey Hepburn's black suit Breakfast with diamonds… Also in Spanish cinema. Who does not remember Victoria Abril with her recording camera tied to a helmet in Kika; or that leather dress with the breasts out in the same film by Pedro Almodóvar.

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His Andrea Caracorta is one of the best examples of the union of cinema and fashion. the creator of that look iconic was Jean Paul Gaultier. The French designer is, precisely, the curator of the exhibition Cinema and fashion. By Jean-Paul Gaultier, which from February 18 to June 5 can be seen at the CaixaForum in Madrid. An exhibition that compiles iconic dresses from the history of cinema, fragments of films, but above all it shows the importance of clothing to stay ahead of society. An exhibition that, in the words of the deputy director general of "la Caixa" Foundation, Elisa Durán, shows "the role of cinema and fashion as engines of transformation in our society and is a defense of female empowerment, diversity and of the different types of beauty outside the usual canons".

Gaultier attended the presentation to the media of the exhibition, and told how he started in fashion thanks to cinema, specifically, the film falbalas, by Jacques Becker, which in 1945 marked him forever. "When I saw that movie I was clear about what I wanted to do: fashion," the dressmaker has confessed. In the French director's film he saw "that element of spectacle that I liked and I found this parade with an audience, a show with the models who were like actresses, like heroines, and that movement seemed beautiful to me."

It was his "bible", he became interested in fashion, although he never went to a fashion school, but instead did self-taught training. Outside of all academicism, Gaultier revolutionized the sector, and now offers that look to show those moments in which cinema "represents society, life and evolution." For him, one of the barriers that fashion has helped break down is gender. Concepts such as masculine and feminine were questioned through clothing long before the word binarism was in conversations.

"I started focusing on the evolution of men and women. Women, at first, were considered above all in Hollywood as an object woman, a courtesan, but then they became empowered and became stronger. But that doesn't mean say that he becomes masculinized, but that he takes on a power that he had not shown in the past, while the man becomes weaker or, as I did in my first men's parade, he shows himself as an object man. We have seen that in the cinema, Marlon Brando showed that sensuality, he was sexy. I'm not saying that we reach a scheme where only women are empowered and men are always fragile, but that is there and the way women look at men has changed in society. Women they no longer have to be beautiful and desirable", Gaultier said, defining Javier Bardem as our Spanish Marlon Brando.

One of the cases that best exemplifies how cinema overturned the macho stereotypes that said women should be fragile and wear pompous dresses is Marlene Dietrich, for Gaultier "a special case because she embodies female emancipation and extreme duality". The beginnings of her fulfilled what the canons said, but in real life she was already "wearing jackets, pants, men's clothing and very military clothing." The designer recalled a fragment of the film Morocco, in 1930, in which Dietrich broke the codes and with his androgynous appearance gave the first kiss in the history of cinema between two women.

The woman was considered as an object, but then she has become empowered and is becoming stronger. But that does not mean that she is masculinized

Jean Paul Gaultier

"There she is, with her kind of black tailcoat and she plays a very ambiguous game of seduction, something incredible in the 30s. She does it to a woman who has a flower, she takes it off, she smells it, she offers it to another woman and kisses her on the mouth. That's something incredible, very bold for that time. Then we went back, and long after we saw much greater daring, "recalled the couturier and gave other examples of women who turned the stereotype around, such as Chanel , or Bardot, whom he described as "the total revolution", since despite her bourgeois origins "she assumes a completely progressive and revolutionary femininity". She dresses in pants, with flat and open ballerinas. Small revolutions like her mythical cut of teased hair. All this is condensed in her dance in And God created the woman, where Vadim shot a scene where she "dances wildly, she sweats, we notice her tight outfit, and she does it for herself, not to turn men on. It's extreme provocation." Bardot danced free at the same time that Marilyn Monroe fulfilled the norms of Hollywood.

All of them are in the CaixaForum exhibition, just as Pedro Almodóvar is in a special place, with whom Gaultier has worked on three occasions (Kika, Bad Education, Y The Skin I Live In). Gaultier has expressed his admiration for the Spaniard, and that he was always dazzled by how he "showed women, they weren't objects, they weren't stupid. They had character. They were strong." "I had seen his films, we had met once, and one day he asked me if I wanted to make costumes for his films. His films are his babies, he is the one who gives birth. There are many directors who do not know what they want for he aesthetics, but he does, he has his own universe, and that's extraordinary and it was very enriching," he added. Both have contributed to creating a freer society thanks to their art, and now the couturier pays tribute to him with a part of his exhibition dedicated to the genius of the Spanish director, because the union of cinema and fashion was never as present as when they have worked together.

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