Jean Paul Gaultier 20 years of Classique

All Classiques

Or more appropriately… Who doesn’t know those ubiquitous torso bottles?

Jean Paul Gaultier is inimitable and hard to categorize.  From ultra structured clothes to iconic perfumes (both for men and women), the cheeky French designer has dressed every bigger-than-life figure in recent pop culture – from Madonna (the infamous cone bra), Beth Ditto for his S/S 2012 collection to costume design for The Fifth Element (that orange wifebeater! Leeloo’s bandage!), “The Skin I live In” (Elena Anaya’s bodysuit!).

But for perfume lovers, he’s also known for his Classique and Le Male, both bottled in the distinguishing torso-shaped bottles. Classique – the feminine one – celebrates 20 years this year with a revamp of the corset and of the can-shaped box holding it.


What a dame!

What a dame!

And no matter what happens to the juice over the years, his bottles have always surpassed expectations.

Kokorico Ma Dame Fragile

Of course the torso shape for a perfume bottle (arguably the most striking thing about Classique) has been done before, and with a lot of aplomb for that period. Surrealist designer Elsa Schiaparelli  launched her first perfume, Shocking, in a bottle shaped like a woman’s torso in 1937. The bottle was shocking for the time, but the scent would be even more shocking to our modern noses – I haven’t managed to get my hands on original juice but it presumably smells very animalic.

Shocking and Zut

Of course her more shocking bottle was the one shaped like the lower body of a woman with the undergarments around her ankles: Zut. I would like to see Gaultier try to pull that off.