Als Multi-Talent der 80er Jahre schuf Jean-Paul Goude ein Werk, das bekannte Werbungen für Marken wie Perrier, Citroën und Chanel umfasst. Er hat Grace Jones erfunden und Vanessa Paradis in einen Vogelkäfig gesperrt. Mittlerweile arbeitet er als Kreativdirektor bei der spanischen Marke Desigual. Wir trafen ihn im berühmten Mailänder Concept-Store 10 Corso Como anlässlich seiner Buchpräsentation „Jean-Paul Goude“.

Jean-Paul Goude bei seiner Buchpräsentation, Desigual x Jean-Paul Goude x 10 Corso Como

CARA LERCHL: In your personal art you mostly featured black models. Can you tell us about this passion?

JEAN-PAUL GOUDE: Aesthetically speaking, I do have a preference for lines that you very often find within black people. For example, I love noses that are very straight.

CL: Is it a conscious choice not to feature black women in your advertisements?

JPG: I don’t advertise, I do pictures but the advertising comes from a client, who has a clientele. For Desigual for example, I just did a campaign with 4 girls, and I took very big care in choosing 1 black, 2 white, and 1 asian girl in order to show the differences in beauty of women.

CL: Taste has changed a lot concerning african-americans. Do you feel uplifted about that?

JPG: What’s happening today has gone overboard, it has become ridiculous. The political correctness has reached black people, even black people are politically correct, everybody is.

CL: You think it is too much?

JPG: Definitely, at least for me. I just try to be as honest as possible. It’s obvious that I have a preference for certain types of beauty.

Grace Jones "Nightclubbing", Foto: Jean-Paul Goude
Jean-Paul Goude: “My relationship to fashion is fetishist. If I like to dress up women, it’s to appreciate them. ”
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CL: How do you remember your first encounter with Grace Jones?

JPG: I met a girl who is a friend of hers and we invited her for dinner. Grace came over with her boyfriend at the time, a Frenchman that I knew. I was very civil. but I could see that she liked me, because every time I was trying to be funning she would be laughing under the table, that’s where we met.

CL: Grace and you also went to go dancing at Studio 54. That must have been magical.

JPG: Grace is not a dancer, she went to Studio 54 for other reasons. She had her own following, a lot of gay guys were after her. I always liked to dance, I used to go dancing way before Studio 54. When I arrived to New York, I was living with a girl who was a dancer, she used to take me to her favourite spots. We would be doing social dancing, it was all about hanging out and getting high. Studio 54 was an extension of that.

CL: Would you have thought that there would be a film one day of Studio 54?

JPG: Yes, definitely. But Studio 54 was not my favourite hang-out. Most people were lousy dancers there and I hated disco and moving to stupid beats. The people at Studio 54 were not like me. It was the nightlife, where the rich people were spending money on cocaine, and they were portrayed by Andy Warhol. Bob Colacello, who used to be an Editor at Interview Magazine, wrote a book called Holy Terror; Andy Warhol Close. The other day I started reading it and I couldn’t put it down, because it is all about my days in New York. I was in Union Square, Andy was across the street I used to see Bob every day.


Jean-Paul Goude: “The people at Studio 54 were not like me. It was the nightlife, where the rich people were spending money on cocaine, and they were portrayed by Andy Warhol.”
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CL: In the end Studio 54 did not inspire you that much.

JPG: No, I would have loved people to spend money on my work.

CL: Do you think you created the androgyny type of woman with Grace Jones?

JPG: No, but she played that character for me. It lasted as long as we were in love, 3 or 4 years, and then it was finished. My relationship to fashion is fetishist. If I like to dress up women, it’s to appreciate them. It’s a way of putting them on a pedestal. That is what I did to Grace: I highly stylized her, radically. I cut her hair short, dressed and painted her black in black for her shows, recut and retouched her images. Everything that I did was for her, for her only.

CL: In an issue of Interview Magazine Germany in 2012, there is also a picture of you wearing a black mask.

JPG: Yes, it was one of Grace’s masks. She used to wear white and black facemasks as a theatrical device during her shows. The one I am wearing on the picture accidentally broke after Grace threw it on stage. I see this picture as a sentimental thing: those where the days, when I was half Grace Jones. In fact, I had become her. The reason why our relationship never lasted is because I started preferring the character to the person. I never liked the person, because I can’t stand decadence.

Jean-Paul Goude mit Grace Jones Maske, White and Black, New York, 1982

CL: What do you want to do for the brand Desigual?

JPG: I am trying to honor my agreement with Thomas Meyer, the founder of Desigual. He asked me to help him out improving the image of the brand. Even after almost 2 years, working as a creative director for them keeps being a challenge for me. I am discovering myself through it. I loved the show we did in New York.

CL: Is your Desigual silhouette different from the Grace Jones silhouette?

JPG: Yes and no. It’s a different design but it’s the same sort of attitude. I like highly stylized things, just like I highly stylized Grace Jones.

CL: Interesting, how some people can trigger such inspiration in ourselves.

JPG: Around 6 years ago, I used to be very sick so I had a lot of time to think. I realized that I haven’t changed. From the day I was in my small room in my modest parents house and my whole world was there, to my bigger room when I had my first apartment. The third room was even bigger. But even now at my Studio, I feel like I am still in my room thinking about new projects. That’s who I am and where I feel happy. That’s what keeps me young and motivates me.

CL: Who was the last person you found interesting?

JPG: I am on a big kick at the moment with this choreographer from LA, Ryan Heffington . He worked with me for the shows at Desigual. Just thinking of him puts me in a good mood.

CL: What are you most proud of?

JPG: I am proud to be talking to you at my age.

CL: Thank you very much for this conversation, Jean-Paul.

Das Buch „Jean Paul Goude“ ist ab sofort hier erhältlich.

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