Jean-Paul Goude: magician of the image

Dream world of Jean-Paul Goude

In my head I almost hear Jean-Paul Goude scream: AAAAAND ACTION! Dramatic music from the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) is turned on and a female choir is loudly shrieking melodramatic lines in harmony. Lines which are partly based on the tragi-comedy Le Cid of 17th century French play writer Pierre Courneille (1606-1684):

Égoïste, où es-tu? Montre toi misérable! Prend garde à mon courroux, je serais implacable! Ô rage, ô désespoir! Ô mon amour trahit, n’ai-je donc tant vécu que pour cette infamie? Montre toi, égoïste!

One of the 36 shuttered doors on the front of a reconstructed version of the Carlton hotel Cannes (rebuilt in the dessert of Rio de Janeiro) slightly opens. ‘Don Juan’ puts his Chanel cologne Égoïste on his private balcony and quickly closes the door again. After this moment, the female choir goes completely mental. The other 35 shuttered doors provocatively bang open exactly at the same time, while the women continue to spell their curses on the unfaithful seducer: ÉGOïSTE! ÉGOïSTE! ÉGOïSTE!

Ô rage ô désespoir!

The TV commercial for Égoïste (pour Homme, Chanel) from 1990 is (until now) the best commercial I have EVER seen. No better launch of a men’s perfume than this one! At least, it’s this particular one that impresses me the most and keeps sticking in my mind when thinking about advertisements. Maybe because it reminds me of the dramatic me after one of the MANY dumps in the past (of which the last coincidentally also took place in a country were people talk FRENCH! Mon dieu, quelle tragédie dans Paris…).

One thing is for sure, this ad is one of the most costliest made in the early nineties. Over $ 1.000.000 was spent. The vision behind the commercial was that women (apparently literally) were going nuts when smelling this male scent. So, to all you single men: TRY AND THOU SHALT SEE! Anyway, it’s very clear Goude got his inspiration from the famous 60s fashion photo Girls in the windows by Ormond Gigli. His work is surreal, bizarre, absurd, hilarious, provocative and très over-the-top. Just the way I like it!

© Ormond Gigli

Girls in the windows (1960) © Ormond Gigli

Parisian wonder boy

The Paris-born Jean-Paul Goude (b. 1940) is a creative jack-of-all-trades. He is a graphic designer, art director, photographer and well known for his former professional and romantic relationship with Grace Jones. Last year he made headlines with his much-discussed nude pictures of Kim Kardashian for Paper magazine, including the recreation of his iconic ‘champagne incident’ photo from 1976. With a fascination for ethnic cultures, Africa in particular, and fairy tales like Jungle Book, this creative wonder boy studied at the Parisian Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs and got fame when he was 29. He was asked to work as the artistic director of Esquire magazine in New York, one of the best magazines in New Journalism at that time.

Naomi Campbell in Vogue @ Jean Paul Goude

Naomi Campbell in the September issue of US Harper’s Bazaar @ Jean-Paul Goude

Grace Jones © Jean Paul Goude

Grace Jones © Jean-Paul Goude

Grace Jones © Jean Paul Goude

Grace Jones © Jean-Paul Goude

Galerie Lafayette © Jean Paul Goude

Galerie Lafayette © Jean-Paul Goude

Influencer of the late 20th century ad’s

Goude’s talent to create his own personal dream world in his work AND to convey this message in a proper manner to the viewer, made him one of the major and memorable influencers in the fashion and advertisement industry of the late 20th century. With his unorthodox ideas he challenges the aesthetics and zeitgeist of the day. On top of this, he is one of the very first graphics who openly told and showed the public he manipulated and polished images of humans. His “French Correction” is now called Photoshop.

Goude considers some of his TV commercials as short movies. Next to Égoïste he refers to another ad he made for Chanel, namely the fragrance Coco in 1992. Inspired by a little birdcage found in Coco Chanel’s apartment, he depicted the 19-year old Vanessa Paradis as a poetic bird of paradise swinging on a perch in a cage and an observing white birman next to it. Ooooooooooh, how I LO-O-OVE the brains of this man! Watch the ad below and get inspired!


Vanessa Paradis for Coco L’esprit de Chanel © Jean-Paul Goude