Meet the designer Kanye West calls ‘Sean Paul’s goatee hair’

Lifestyle

Meet the designer Kanye West calls ‘Sean Paul’s goatee hair’

Et voila! It’s Jean Paul Gaultier, fashion’s former enfant terrible and Madonna muse who’s sprung back to life

Guy Kelly

The court of Jean Paul Gaultier sits opposite a discount clothing shop and next to a salad bar chain in the chic but tumbledown Marais district of Paris. The inscription “Future of the Proletariat” bellows from an outside wall. A doorbell buzz, a parting of electronic doors ... and then a velvet wall, which gives way to a curved desk manned by two receptionists.

Beside them, a marble staircase looms, each step slumping under thousands of stilettos. I am met, and led up to a reception room, where I settle on a black velvet sofa opposite a black velvet chaise longue (if you’re allergic to velvet, it’s best you invite him to yours).

“Jean Paul will sit here,” Gaultier’s nonchalant PR says, gesturing at the chaise longue. He’s upstairs, finishing a fitting with one his longtime muses, the French singer Myléne Farmer. While mint tea is made, I am alone but for a dozen mannequins, all of whom wear last season’s exquisite, brassy couture gowns. Then, in skips the man himself...

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