Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gaultier & Greenaway: The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

Continuing with the theme of Jean-Paul Gaultier...

In addition to Gaultier's fashion design career and his brief foray into music, he has also designed costumes for a number of movies. One of those movies is 1989's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.

cook thief wife lover
Gaultier costumes

Directed by avant-garde director Peter Greenaway, the movie tells the story of a brutal crime boss who happens to own a restaurant at which he dines every night along with his motley band of henchmen and his lonely, abused wife. The wife, played by the prodigiously talented Helen Mirren, eventually finds herself drawn into a risky love affair with bookish man who also dines at the restaurant on a nightly basis. As the nights go by, the two lovers carry out their affair in the various nooks and crannies of the restaurant, all under the nose of the woman's unsuspecting husband. Inevitably though, the actions of the lovers lead to devastating consequences.

Overall, the movie is graphic and even disturbing, as it contains a couple of scenes that are gruesome. In spite of that though, the movie features striking cinematography and eye-catching set design, and an intriguing use of specific colors in the different sections of the restaurant.

Set Design

Some of the costumes include one of Gaultier’s unmistakable trademarks:
a corset. Here are some examples of his work for the film.


Originally, the movie did not get approved for an R rating. According to Wikipedia:
"Due to the content, the MPAA gave Miramax a choice of either an X rating or go unrated (adults only) for theatrical release. Unrated was chosen in light of the X rating being more associated with pornographic films."
Today, the movie has a rating of NC-17.

And finally, from what I've read elsewhere, certain elements of the movie represent an allegory for Britain during the Thatcher years. With such an unconventional movie, who’d have thought? :)

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