It’s been 24 years since the premiere of The Fifth Element from Luc Besson back in 1997, but its impact can still be felt in pop culture: At the time, the film polarized critics and was only a modest success by the standards of the blockbusters of its day, and let’s face it: its science storyline. Fiction, fairly standard, would have been largely forgotten if it weren’t for the style of the film, and in particular the costumes. When Besson thought of bringing a vibrant and flamboyant sensibility to the film’s wardrobe, he couldn’t imagine anyone but jean paul Gaultier for work. Gaultier’s work turned out to be one of the most ambitious conceptual achievements in film costume history: he created more than 1,000 individual costumes for the film, as well as an entire stylistic language of fiction. From futuristic McDonald’s waitresses to sultry flight attendants in puffy hats, even anonymous roles were dressed to impress.
This mass production allowed this film to have an impact on fashion, and although Gaultier was already incredibly famous, The Fifth Element introduced his work to a whole new audience, while redefining what a futuristic aesthetic can be. Gaultier took the opportunity to expand on a look he had already established on the runway and to mark all of his major influences such as bondage, punk rock and lingerie. While cultural fusion and gender fluidity are common in fashion today, they weren’t 20 years ago, especially in hit movies. Gaultier took advantage of the film’s alien setting to use Ruby Rhod (played by Chris Tucker), a beast dressed in leopard and inspired by Prince, and Jean Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (played by Gary Oldman), a villainous mix of Asian, Italian and South American aesthetics, to show off your aesthetic preferences. In the words of Gaultier, “I spoke with Luc about what is futuristic, and we decided that there could be elements of today … anything is possible.”
The influence of The Fifth Element in fashion it is still felt, and it goes beyond the big catwalks: we still wear bondage dresses, genderless clothing is more current than ever, as well as cultural fusion. Today we celebrate this film and Gaultier’s work with our 10 favorite looks from this iconic film that will continue to inspire generations to come.
1. The McDonald’s girl
They may have only appeared for a few seconds, but one of the most unforgettable looks is that of the girls who attended this futuristic McDonald’s: with gold and red corsets, lycra shorts and even skates to move more easily, it is one of the favorites of who cosplay from the movie.
2. Ruby Rhodes, Cover Girl
The first of the two looks of the Ruby Rhod character on this list is an imposing long velvet dress not suitable for the faint of heart or the most timid: its most outstanding feature is an artificial rhodium neckline that highlights Rhod’s clavicle, which wears also a great necklace with a Ruby that would have nothing to envy the one in the movie Titanic.
3. Leeloo’s orange harness
This look of our heroine, Leeloo, could go unnoticed as utilitarian in any other circumstance: after all, khaki pants paired with a cotton crop top is not a new idea, but what Gaultier did was add an incredible harness made of silicone that gave that extra, futuristic, and unforgettable touch to the outfit, very inspired by Barbarella.
4. The hostesses
Without a doubt, one of the most imitated loos in pop culture since the premiere of The Fifth Element It is that of the hostesses, which varies from sky blue to royal blue: but always with winged hats, hip mini skirts, a top full of suggestive lines and the structure for which Gaultier became known in his career.
5. Diva Plavalaguna
One of the most beautiful, mysterious and hypnotic moments of the film is also one with an unforgettable look: that of the performance of the opera diva and blue-skinned alien, whose voice reminds us of the song of a siren. Her outfit, with a neckline, sleeves, hips and mules constructed of metal in a blue latex dress is undoubtedly one of the ones we remember the most.
6. El crew de Zorg
We can’t talk about a futuristic wardrobe without a bit of leather, so here we see Tricky as the leader of the villain Zorg’s crew of thugs, and looking very good: his look includes a light puffer jacket, shirtless and a kind of leather tie whose knot is simply a medallion, while his companions wear the leather in their pants with Tight neoprene tops to accentuate your muscles, synonymous with their menacing power.
7. Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Care
One of the best dressed in the movie is Gary Oldman, who played the villain Zorg. In his looks there is a bit of oriental sensibility with Mao-type collars and delicate silks, but with a futuristic twist in the materials: he wears a marked pinstripe, and his iridescent shirt gives him that touch. flashy of a wealthy thug, not to mention his high neck and his transparent frontal accessory on his head.
8. Ruby Rhodes 2: Animal Print
If you doubted that Prince was the inspiration for Ruby Rhod, then here is the second proof of it with this animal print suit, again with an exaggerated collar that allows the golden necklace that complements the look to stand out. Special mention deserves the blonde afro pompadour hairstyle that goes with it.
9. Iconic Leeloo
This is, without a doubt, the first outfit that many think of when talking about The Fifth Element: the simple and utilitarian suit of white bands with which the character of Leeloo is presented, innocent, scared, and ready to take a leap into the unknown.
10. Baby Ray
We close the list with a baroque touch of a secondary character: Baby Ray, one of the celebrities present at the diva’s concert is an angelic and feminine dream in white: from the delicate lace top full of flowers, to her pants in the same shade and platinum hair practically the same color, her appearance was brief, but memorable.
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10 Looks From “The Fifth Element” That Made Jean Paul Gaultier A Futuristic Fashion Visionary