In light of his retrospective exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Jean Paul Gaultier is profiled by Susan Orlean for this week's New Yorker, which recounts the story of Galliano being chosen over Gaultier for Dior:
In 1996, Gaultier says, he met with Bernard Arnault, the chairman of the fashion conglomerate LVMH, which owns Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, and Céline, among other brands. Gaultier thought that perhaps he would go to Dior, which was looking for a new head couturier. But Arnault wanted John Galliano, who had been a success at Givenchy, where he had spent the previous year, to take over Dior, and, according to Gaultier, Arnault wanted him to take Galliano’s place at Givenchy. Gaultier was dismayed. “I thought Givenchy was very bourgeois,” he said. “I loved Saint Laurent, Dior, Cardin. Givenchy was not a dream of mine. So I told Mr. Arnault no, I was not dreaming of Givenchy.”
Of course, Gaultier went on to have a successful couture house and helm Hermès for many years. Now, he misses the good old days when celebrities would actually invest in his clothes.
Gaultier had attracted a passionate audience—in 1985, four thousand people lined up to see his collection—and had opened his first boutique, in Paris. Madonna stopped in after her concert. (“Can you imagine?” Gaultier said to me, in a hushed voice. “Back then, even big stars actually bought clothes instead of borrowing them.”
Gaultier's exhibit is currently on display in Montreal through October 2, after which it will travel to Dallas, San Francisco, and then Europe.