Exclusive interview with Jean Paul Gaultier

French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier spoke exclusively to Club MAN about his newest male fragrance Le Beau Male, now available in South Africa


Is there a relationship between Jean Paul Gaultier fashion and fragrance?

Of course. We dress up to assert our personalityand I think we wear a fragrance for the same reason.

Your iconic 1995 fragrance Le Male led to the creation of the Le Male man. Who is this man?

Le Male is the perfect sailor. He’s the tough guy with a tender heart. Le Male is not afraid to show his softer side, making him both manly and sexy.

How did the sailor become such as iconic figure for the house of Gaultier?

The sailor shirt is a childhood memory. My mother and my grandmother dressed me this way.  For me it evokes nostalgia.

How did the idea of a torso-shaped bottle come about?

Classique was my first fragrance in 1993. At that time I was very attached to the idea of the body, the link between the clothing and the person who is going to wear it. I also wanted to incorporate the idea of my grandmother’s corset. Since it was technically difficult to create a bottle in the shape of a flesh-coloured corset, the idea was to dress the body-bottle in a corset. I wanted it to look real. The body then became the bearer of the scent. The same principle was adopted later with Le Male and the sailor shirt he’s wearing.

Your Spring 2013 menswear collection feels as though your iconic sailor has docked in the Far East? What inspired this?

I had seen images of Sikh turbans and it suddenly seemed right for my sailor to wear them. I even wore one at my couture show though it was striped. The sailor had travelled as far as India this time – there is also a Toile de Jouy, which is French for Indian cotton.

Tell us about your latest fragrance, Le Beau Male?

This fragrance is an object of desire. Smell can stimulate sexual appetites, lead to other stories, make you dream. I wanted Le Beau Male to create desire in others.

Who is the Le Beau Male?

He is the fire under the ice, a male pin-up not afraid to show his sex appeal. The choice of the model for the ad campaign was made in this spirit: it had to be a hot boy, a bit Latino, who makes the ice melt, so that there would be no ice left between us.

What sets this fragrance apart from your other male scents?

In this fragrance, as in its advertising campaign, there are all the Gaultier codes. The tattoos on the skin, the sensuality, the heart, the dragon – all of these visuals speak to travelling, more particularly to the collections I did on travelling. There is also the sailor code. He is a sailor with his shirt thrown flippantly on his shoulder, and his hand rooted in the ground like a paw.

(Image source: Rainer Torrado)

*This article originally appeared in the September issue of Edgars Club MAN magazine