Jean Paul Gaultier: Fashion Freak Show, Camden Roundhouse

by Zahid Fayyaz

Originally staged in London in 2019 at the Southbank Centre, this part-revue, part-fashion show has been rebooted and now has a long residency at Camden’s iconic Roundhouse venue for around 50 dates. The concept consists of a narrative of the life and times of fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier, put together to include a multitude of his fashion designs and a large cast of dancers.

Justin Nardella and Renaud Rubiano created some wonderful videos for the shows, that on the Roundhouse’s wrap around stage really stand out. These span Jean Paul’s life, from his school days to the present, and definitely work towards making the show seem even more of an event. On one of the hottest evenings of the year, the dancers and choreography are incredibly fluid yet grueling.

Put together by Niles Rodgers, who certainly knows how to get a party going, the music is one of the highlights of the evening. It gets the eager crowd going when used as part of the show. The recreation of Jean Paul’s first fashion show in 1976 was easily the most kinetic segment of the event, and there is certainly a large amount of raunch to accompany the dance.

The show occasionally gets lost when there isn’t movement on stage, and the crowd don’t follow some of the video messages from French stars paying tribute to Jean Paul. However, this is still a wildly entertaining show and well worth watching.

Jean Paul Gaultier: Fashion Freak Show runs until 28 August.

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