“There is not one type of beauty. There are many beauties.”

Credit: TS3/Boby

Through the eyes of one of the most innovative designers, we are invited to Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fashion Freak Show! Having first premiered back in 2019 in Paris, the Fashion Freak Show has been reimagined and taken residency at Roundhouse Camden. 

Two hours of extraordinary performances from actors, dancers, circus acts, and singers too – it’s guaranteed to have you dancing in your seat! The show is incredibly passionate and creative storytelling of Gaultier’s life and career over the past 50 years. We have an insight into all aspects of his life – family, love, rebellion, taboo culture, and of course, fashion! The amazing production is a unique combination of revue and fashion show; with replicas of Gaultier’s iconic looks (and new ones!) being strutted down the catwalk and stunning visuals projected against the video wall backdrop.

Credit: TS3/Boby

The show begins with a video sequence of a young Jean Paul working on his teddy bear, Nana. The operating table reveals conical breasts being sewn on – Gaultier’s first creation! This nicely leads to the first wacky dance sequence where teddy bears dressed in corsets and conical bras seductively dance across the stage.

We are taken on a weird yet wonderful journey as Jean Paul Gaultier shares all – from his childhood dreams to the early stages of his career to the iconic fashion shows. Gaultier is a trailblazer for inclusive and eccentric fashion. It was exciting to see this presented on stage, as well as the diverse group of performers. They were sassy, poised, and occasionally engaged with audience members at the cabaret tables.

Throughout the show, Gaultier pays homage to the artists in film, music, dance, and fashion,
that have inspired him. One standout tribute was the Josephine Baker-inspired sequence. The performers wore bright, yellow feathered tutus and danced perfectly in sync – I couldn’t
take my eyes off them.

I applaud Marion Motin’s choreography as each routine left me in awe. Motin, who has worked with Madonna, incorporated a range of dance styles. The sensual S&M portrayal, paired with graceful acrobatic moves was simply stunning. As was the reverence to the drag scene in a spectacular dance showdown between the sapeurs and the voguers.

I quite enjoyed the satirized versions of the ‘Fashion Police’ Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfield; they provided relevance and humour, even if it was exaggerated. The set list was phenomenal and featured numerous musical hits we all recognise for representing certain decades – Disco, Funk, Pop, and Punk to name a few!

Credot: TS3/Boby

The inclusion of crucial political and cultural changes is significant and interpreted well
through the choreography and costume designs. The depiction of Gaultier’s first love was
captured beautifully; we discover his partner’s AIDS-related death in a poignant contemporary dance and live vocals. I also appreciated Pierre Antoine Bardot, who plays the young Jean Paul Gaultier, remaining in the notable nautical stripe attire during the show. 

What I loved most about Fashion Freak Show was the message of accepting who we are and acknowledging the beauty in everyone. It is entertaining, sexy, and fabulously unique! Now I didn’t expect to be showered with confetti and condoms but expect the unexpected! Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fashion Freak Show is not to be missed this summer! It is a celebration of Gaultier’s sensational life and iconic creations. You can catch performances at Roundhouse Camden until 28th August!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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