Jean Paul Gaultier and Madonna at his S/S 1995 show.
When I was younger and less aware of music and pop culture, of the little I did know about the creative world, Madonna and Gaultier were synonymous. When either of their names came up the now infamous “cone bra” bustier came to mind, which I’m sure is the case for a lot of people. Gaultier designed the costumes for Madonna’s legendary “Blonde Ambition” tour in 1990, during which the cone bra look was worn. Madonna and Gaultier have had a working friendship over the years, and its no surprise––both deal in sex, shock, and irony with their work. People will probably argue in defense of the cone bra as their most iconic creative pairing but perhaps a moment to rival them all was during Gaultier’s AIDS benefit fashion show in LA in 1992. In true Gaultier fashion the show was resplendent and ridiculous, only to outdo himself at the very last minute when he brings Madonna out on the runway with him to close the show. Wearing an oversized boxy blazer which she demurely holds closed, you just know she’s going to take it off...and she does, only to reveal herself completely topless save for a pair of suspenders akin to a cupless bra. The whole crowd collectively loses their minds while she smiles cheekily with a gold tooth and saunters off with her dear friend Jean Paul. It’s a fashion moment to end all fashion moments.
(L) Jean Paul and Madonna in a JPG costume for her Blonde Ambition Tour, 1990. (R) Jean Paul Gaultier and Madonna, 1990.
(L) Jean Paul Gaultier and Madonna, 1994. (R) Madonna and JPG during fittings for her Blonde Ambition Tour, 1989.