Michel Gaubert: A True Fashion Player

Have you ever gotten bad press?

Suzy Menkes wrote something once, but it made sense. I did the music for Giambattista Valli for Ungaro. To make him hip, they had me play Grace Jones and some other '80's stuff. Suzy said it was out of place when he came out on the runway to Rebel Yell by Billy Idol. He never was a rebel and he never will be.

Yeah, a bit of a stretch. But I know you love '80's music and pop. Who are your fave pop stars?

You know, Madonna, I guess, even though I hate saying it. I don't think she's a very good artist, but I like the image. I mean, she's white trash, but she's made herself glamorous. She's the only clever white trash. Celine Dion can try, or Mariah Carey, or Jennifer Lopez—she's a pig. Just because you're a singer doesn't mean you can make clothes. I don't like these collaborations between Missy Elliott and Adidas, Pharrell and Bathing Ape. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon, like what Beyonce is doing. It's all part of the deal now. If you're pretty and have a hit album, you have to do your own perfume and clothes.

Do you want to make music?

No, I'm too self-conscious, I don't want to put out bad music, and I'm too demanding. It's passÈ now anyway. If I were a musician, I would have known it by now. But I do want to take it somewhere else. I'm into this video thing, blending image and sound. I'd love to direct music videos.

Whose music?

Well, probably Madonna. (Giggles.) Who else?

So you'd go and do the MTV thing?

Yeah, except I don't like MTV. The one in Europe is so bad. You see one video, then commercials forever. And the music is just tacky French crap. It's like the worst radio station ever. It makes you want to throw your TV out the window.

What about Apple?

Believe it or not, this morning I got an email from Apple asking to have lunch. We'll see what they want. But I don't know if I like their politics. They were part of the Lagerfeld show in New York. They broadcast the show on iTunes. I think it was interesting, but for me it was very frustrating, because the version you can get on iTunes doesn't feature the music we had in the show. The ones on iTunes are fake. I guess because it was a very last minute decision and Apple couldn't get copyrights. They never talked to me, which I found very strange.

But you love iPods.

I remember it was November 2001 when the iPod came out. When I saw the thing I started going crazy. I thought it totally rocked. Sarah [of Colette] asked a few people to do things with the iPod. I wanted to make a music section with an iPod bar. That's around the time I started making mixed CDs for Colette. Those CDs sell really well. We print like 3000 copies and they only sell at Colette and maybe a few other small stores, and they always sell out. We'd never want to sell to a place like Virgin because it would be put next to lounge compilations or whatever.

You told me the new CD is going to have classical music?

Yeah, there might be classical music, like symphonic stuff, because it's what we feel like right now. We didn't want to do something heavy and techno. We wanted to have nice music to listen to—not intelligent, but less disposable. I'm also getting into folk music. It's more organic sounding.

Do you ever lug around big milk crates to gigs?

No, I only have my Mac, hard drives and iPods. At shows I always play a mix, which is so much nicer than playing live. Otherwise it's too try-hard or forced.

What annoys you?

People who tell me a song I've played has already been used. Music is music. I don't own music or music rights. One time I played a track and someone said, "Oh my god, did you know that song was played four days ago?" I said, "No. But did you know Amber Valletta modeled in a show four days ago?" What does it matter? No one owns Amber. Fuck, big deal. Red is red, yellow is yellow. My dream one day is to play the exact same soundtrack at every show in a season to see how long it would take for people to notice. That's my fantasy. But you never know?people might think it's genius, like I'm trying to say everyone should wear the same thing or something.

Do people ask you for fashion advice?

No. I'm not an expert, but I know a lot about fashion. I can tell you about '60's stuff, like who made it or printed it. I'm even interested in 19th century clothes. I like all things. What I don't like are people who don't know how to wear fashion. Like girls who don't know how to wear heels, and speak too loudly and drink too many martinis, then wonder why they're not getting fucked.

Is there an equivalent to those girls in Paris?

Yes, we call them blondes. They just look at fashion magazines and accumulate as much as they can. They look awful. They have to pull on their skirts because they're too short and they talk like they're on TV.

Sort of like Paris Hilton, except they're actually in Paris?

Yeah, but I like Paris. I think she's quite clever. She only wanted to be famous and she succeeded. Being famous is her job. She's a pioneer of fame.

Do you want fame?

No, I don't care about that.

What about fortune?

Not really. I still have only one home.

You must be swimming in swag though.

Mmm, no one gives me free records. Well, they do, but they're records I'm not interested in. I spend almost $100,000 a year just on records.

Who do you wear?

Raf Simons. Also Nicolas Ghesquiere and Karl Lagerfeld. I like Japanese stuff, too, like Comme des GarÁons, Undercover, Yohji Yamamoto. I wear Junya Watanabe whenever I can fit into it. Ralph Lauren is my favorite American designer.

What are you going to work on after I leave?

I've been going to a gay website, a place to hook up. It's huge.

I bet.

But I'm only going because they have a feature called I Speak where guys can leave a voice message for other guys browsing. I'm recording the voices because they're so cheesy. It's great.


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