Today is Jean Paul Gaultier’s final RTW show after 38 years.
Of all the shows in all the cities, I have loved my fittings with Jean Paul Gaultier the most. While most designers are pulling their hair out with mere days or hours to go before their show, Jean Paul is cool and calm and always there with a huge smile on his handsome boyish face. There is always time to catch up, to chat about your travels, your family and your life. Invariably Gaultier has cake at all his fittings and is quick to offer you a second slice. I remember one year Gaultier took me to the roof top of his atelier, just to show me the sun set over Paris. It was touching and sweet that he would take this kind of time with a new model, but that is typical of Jean Paul Gaultier.
Over the years Mr. Gaultier has given me some of my most memorable experiences on the runway. He loves to create a performance and, after meeting him at 17 I think he saw in me a willing and eager young model always up for a new challenge. One year he dressed me as a mermaid with my legs bound together into a fishtail and I hopped down the runway on crutches made of coral. Half the way down I was supposed to pull a zipper to release my legs, but the zipper didn’t work so I pushed my long nail into the fish tale and ripped it bottom to top. Most designers would go berserk over a model ripping a garment but Gaultier loved the theatrics of it. Another time he asked me to Irish dance down his runway to Scottish highland bag pipes. It was a little known skill I had at the time but Vogue later dubbed it the “Coco Moment” and from then on I was forever known as Coco, the Irish dancing model. I’ll also never forget when Jean Paul asked me to stage a cat fight with another model on the runway, she was secretly pregnant at the time so I went easy on her and most of the fight was her yanking me around by my hair. Apparently it was so convincingly executed that members of the front row got up to break us up. Last year Mr. Gaultier again called me in for a special runway performance. I had just cut my hair short and so he dressed me up as John Travolta in Grease and together with his choreographer Bianca Li, we worked on a dance number that left me with bruised knees for months. As always, it was always worth it.
Today is his final show, and we are going to make it a great one! Xx Coco