Jean Paul Gaultier taps disco icon Nile Rodgers to tell life story

Fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier (left) and record producer Nile Rodgers posing for a photo on May 3, 2018, in Westport, Connecticut.
Fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier (left) and record producer Nile Rodgers posing for a photo on May 3, 2018, in Westport, Connecticut.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Deciding how to tell his story as one of fashion's edgiest designers, Jean Paul Gaultier knew there had to be music. And he knew it had to come from Nile Rodgers.

The designer who has brought playful and provocative clothes to the world's runways for four decades is turning the focus to himself, with an autobiographical show to open on Oct 2 in Paris.

The Fashion Freak Show will bring out Gaultier's iconic designs as well as new outfits and tell his life through actors, models and a singer.

Spearheading the music will be the creator of Le Freak himself - Rodgers, the force behind disco titan Chic and producer for stars from Madonna and Diana Ross to Daft Punk.

"Truly, honestly, if there was one person I would think about for the music, it was him," Gaultier said. "Everybody loves his songs, has danced to them, has been in love with someone because of his music."

Rodgers plans to rework some of the better-known tracks to serve as underscores during the show, which will take place at the celebrated Folies Bergere cabaret hall.

"When you're dealing with a theatrical piece, you are absolutely dealing with an emotional arc," Rodgers said. "And that emotional arc may not be served properly with the original music. It has to change a bit." 

Gaultier has been deeply involved in the music world.

In 1989, he recorded a now-obscure dance track, How To Do That.

But his biggest influence in music came through his work with Madonna.

He designed some of the more headline-grabbing items from her Blond Ambition tour in 1990, including her bullet-like cone bra and the golden corset she sported when she sang Like A Virgin, a track produced by Rodgers.

"I don't think of fashion as art," Gaultier said.

"Fashion is supposed to be superficial. It's true that by fashion you can express yourself a little and tell things, but it's not like music that goes through your nose, your ears, everywhere," he added.

"Music is something very beautiful and that we truly need, like eating."