Jean Paul Gaultier SS1996 "Safe Sex Forever" Tattoo Top

Jean Paul Gaultier SS1996 "Safe Sex Forever" Tattoo Top


With no formal fashion education to boast of, Jean Paul Gaultier established himself in the 70s and 80s as the “enfant terrible" of French fashion. His irreverent style left nothing sacred, dancing over the standard guard rails of high-fashion — he played with gender roles, adorning men in skirts decades before others opted to, and allowed plus sized women and older men to grace his runways. His talent was undeniable, though his utilization of such gifts made him a fiercely divisive designer. While often ripped by the French press, he gained the hearts of numerous subversive, forward-thinking icons, including Madonna and Marilyn Manson, both whom he conceptualized tour wardrobes for.

One of Gaultier’s most famous visuals, the series of “Safe Sex Forever” pieces served as a direct reference to the AIDS epidemic of the ‘90s, which claimed Gaultier’s longtime lover Francis Menuge among its victims. When contextualizing to piece within the era it was released, it is key to remember how taboo AIDS was throughout the 80s and 90s. One of Gaultier’s enduring social legacies is standing as among the first mainstream designers to call attention to the issue, which he did in a variety of ways, including donating the proceeds from his 1992 runway show to AIDS charities. This shirt, along with the matching swim trunks, reside in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s private collection.

Condition: 9/10. No significant flaws. 

Tagged size: S - note that the shirt is composed of a very stretchy mesh. 

Shoulder: 16in

Pit to pit: 15.5in

Length: 21.5in

Sleeve: 22.5in

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