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Thursday, 21 July 2022

REVIEW: Jean Paul Gaultier's Fashion Freak Show at the Roundhouse

When I first stumbled across a Jean Paul Gaultier documentary as a young theatre kid in Australia, I was entranced by his creations. I sat glued to the TV watching how they told a story, embraced the eccentric and evoked a culture that I was excited by. Just as his work imprinted on me, Gaultier has given permission to countless people all around the world to dream, provoke and express themselves through fashion. Each of his pieces is a performance, full of movement that can change the space it exists in. It, therefore, seems only right for him to arrive at his latest masterpiece, Fashion Freak Show, a full-blown stage spectacle featuring his iconic couture as a vehicle for dance, circus, clown, burlesque and video. This is a visceral experience not to be missed and as this grown-up theatre kid, sits in the London Roundhouse theatre many, many years later since her first encounter with JPG, surrounded by an eclectic mix of fabulous people, it can only be described as a surreal and iconic moment to bask in.

The show is the story of JPG’s life, the culture he has experienced and generally an insight into how he sees the world, which unsurprisingly, is largely through fashion. However, what is so enchanting about this concept is that we also get an insight into the raw inspiration that has inspired him for so many years. From The Folies BergĂ©re who he was introduced to by his grandmother as a young boy to Josephine Baker, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, gender-challenging rockstars such as David Bowie, Boy George and Grace Jones, the British Punk scene, sexual liberation and more.
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