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Jean Paul Gaultier's coolest corsets

“My grandmother used to tell me incredible stories about corsets," Jean Paul Gaultier tells i-D. "Like how they used to drink vinegar to provoke stomach contractions and then pull the laces at precisely that moment as tight as they could. Those tales were edifying, but I was not the least bit interested in the garment’s orthopedic function! For me, the corset evoked something extraordinary, fascinating and mysterious. For my first collection, I worked with a professional corset maker, who took a month and a half to make all my designs. Women had long since stopped wearing these old-fashioned undergarments, but when I started designing, young women had begun to reassert their femininity. They were reinventing the idea of the female sex object, who became strong and free enough to play with the rules.” Breathe in and celebrate five of Jean Paul Gaultier’s most gasp-inducing corset designs!

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Text Bojana Kozarevic

  • ah, the velvet 80s

    The magic corset titillated on the Jean Paul Gaultier catwalk in autumn/winter 84. It was bold and brash and a revert back to femininity that was unexpected. It was a warped and succulent embrace of female assets - hues of soft blues and blazing orange manifested in a luxurious velvet. Its iconicity was felt as soon as it hit the catwalk because it captured everything - the frivolity and the exaggerated excess of the 80s and most importantly, the wit of the fashion bad boy who had determined new rules in breaking the fashion mould.

     

    Paolo Roversi, Tanel Bedrossiantz, 1992 Barbès collection autumn/winter 84

  • MADONNA

    Never has a superstar popstar been so intrinsically linked to a piece of clothing as Madonna with her corseted bra. Wearing nothing but the nude pink corset body for her Blonde Ambition Tour in 1990, Madonna and JPG created what would become a fashion moment so famous, so huge in its power that it sits among fashion’s most legendary moments ever."Madonna spotted my first corsets very early on," Jean Paul tells i-D. "In 1985, at the premiere of Desperately Seeking Susan, she was already wearing one, in white stretch fabric with littleflowers and men’s-style shoulder straps. I was delighted and very proud that she liked my corset style dresses.” JPG's corsets not only dressed her body, they dressed Madonna, the woman who went on to appear in Jean Paul’s shows many a time both as muse and friend. Viva la Madonna!

     

     

    Emil Larsson Body corset worn by Madonna, Blond Ambition World Tour, 1990 April 2008 © Emil Larsson

  • beth ditto in the way of control

    Jean Paul Gaultier was one of the first designers to put plus-sized models on the catwalk, but Beth Ditto from The Gossip opening his spring/summer 11 show was definitely a standout moment. A plus-sized lesbian with a banging voice and even better catwalk stride waltzed down the fashion runway and took her rightful reign. In a corset made of soft chiffons and decorated by flowers, Ditto and Gaultier showed that the corset and fashion itself are for everyone and that being sexy and fun is so much more than size!

     

    jean paul gaultier spring/summer 11

  • the return of Eve Savlais

    A muse of Gaultier in the 90s, Eve Savlais was the model who shaved her hair and tattooed her skull and shocked, shocked, shocked. Gaultier, of course, celebrated her in all her prowess as woman and model, applauding her tenacity and boldness and charisma. In this collection, Eve Savlais returned to the catwalk in a heavenly corseted temple dress, a modern goddess with a brilliantly wicked mind. The dress, soft and white, reminded us exactly of the genteel powers of the corset and of its stroking of the female body- as well as the fashion muse and friend ever-faithful to her fashion supporter, Jean Paul Gaultier. 

     

    jean paul gaultier autumn/winter 12

  • the corset, the bottle, THE scent

    There is Madonna and the corset, and then there is the Jean Paul Gaultier perfume bottle. Through its body and scent, the perfume is definitive of the house and of the designer - softly sexy and iconic through and through. It’s so classic, it’s JPG and femininity incarnate. The face of the perfume is Rianne Ten Haken, the Dutch supermodel beauty over whom sailors travel the seas over and destroy buildings just to breathe in her heavenly scent. That is the power of the corset and its scent, and that is the legend of Jean Paul Gaultier.