I owe my interest in high fashion to the film director Luc Besson. In 1997, sitting in a darkened theater I am looking forward to the just released science-fiction film The Fifth Element. At the time Jean-Paul Gaultier is an unknown to me, at least as far as the brilliance of what he is capable of. Perhaps I have heard the name a time or two and it rings a bell in my mind, but no other knowledge. I am enthrawled with the costumes in this movie, never before have I seen anything like them. In particular, Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg’s attire. The pinstripe high collar suite jacket, the shirt he wears while sitting behind his desk at Zorg Enterprises. The film finishes and I stay behind reading the credits to see who the costume designer is. The name rings a bell in my mind but I’m unsure of anything. I begin to look into Mr. Gaultier’s work and this is my stepping off point.
I wish that I could say I have been active with this interest ever since then. I would notice certain pieces here and there, something would catch my eye in a commercial but by and large the interest was pushed to the back of line. I think at the time I was uncomfortable with it. I loved my jeans, my t-shirts; my only brand loyalties were to Levis and Doc Martin. I was afraid to look nice, polished and refined. Metro-sexual did not exist and men who took that much pride in their appearance and clothes were generally thought of to be homosexuals. I had homosexual friends, but I didn’t want to be mistaken as one myself at that point. I cared too much what people thought. A point of irony for a generally rebellious teenager well entrenched in the heavy metal and industrial music scenes.
This all began to slowly change, due in large part to my active night life. By 1998 I was a club kid. Various chemicals were the catalytic element for the reaction which, allowed my exuberance to start bubbling to the surface. Boots were traded for outrageous statement shoes, t-shirts for velour and crushed velvet button downs. I won’t say I had a good sense of style at this point but progress was being made. I could comfortably express my taste for colors, textures and different materials in a subculture that was not going to judge or criticize so long as it was fabulous and the more outlandish, the better! Eat, drink, enjoy & make love!