|In London. Candid 1984 in Jean Paul Gaultier Cone Bra.|
|Cover Art (Japanese Edition) 1988 In Gaultier.|
I discovered the designs of a few favorites such as Jean Paul Gaultier while living in London in 1983, post Shalamar. One of my first pieces was his velvet cone bra. I bought the smaller orange version and also the larger more extreme cone shape in Burgundy, though I never wore it - it didn't suit my personality. Madonna would later make the more extreme shape famous in the 90's.
I wore this unique creation on my UK 12" Promo single video "Where The Boys Are" written with former Buggles member Bruce Wooley and produced by Gary Langan, Anne Dudley and JJ Jeczalik who went on to be "Art of Noise.
When I moved back to America in 1986 and signed to MCA I pulled it out of my UK style stash for the cover art and video for "Don't You Want Me", knowing fans in America would not have seen me in it due to the UK release being so obscure. My UK label didn't know how to market me and shelved the project, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The great thing was being able to experiment with a new look and Identity for my solo career. I knew I didn't want to fit in the stereotypical box of black artists. I'm still happy with this song and video - peacock feather shaped hair and all. The hat is by Stephen Jones whose work with Gaultier also caught my eye.
The Gaultier Museum Retrospective reminded me of my own love and support of his designs through the years.
You can see me in Gaultier in my video for "Still a Thrill" filmed in Paris, France at The Opera House rocking a Black fishnet top dress with leather bra underneath (also Gaultier) and wool bubble bottom dancing in rotunda with Tyrone Procter..as well as the end scene in red Gaultier dress when the video goes from black and white to color.
I will have to share a post of the journey of my quest of Gaultier couture for my video "Friends" in 1989, it was quite an adventure.
The media and most people credit Madonna for wearing Jean Paul Gaultier, and while she is definitely better at Marketing than I and her PR team perhaps more adept at getting that message across. Traditionally in the music business it's no secret white artists have taken cues from black artist (cue Elvis and my godfather Jackie Wilson and so many others over the years). Madonna definitely took things to another level, and certainly never had the baggage and politics of 'You need to be m more black, more urban, more ghetto, more street.." amongst issues I had to deal with at the time - as a cutting edge woman in music - who happens to be black. We are BOTH trendsetters. To be clear it isn't just about Gaultier, rather about raising the bar for individuality and style. Grace Jones is another unsung artist and someone who inspired me.
I was already rocking his designs and a major supporter of his work before Gaultier was really known to the mainstream fashion world, that's no shade because I respect and like Madonna very much - we even had the same manager at one time early in my career; people in the office said I was the only one she was nice to.
|In Jean Paul-Gaultier Tartan Vest, Jewelry and Scarves worked as a head-wrap.|
Photo's Jody Watley (c) All Rights Reserved.