10 Looks From “The Fifth Element” That Made Jean Paul Gaultier A Futuristic Fashion Visionary

25 years have passed since the premiere of The Fifth Element from Luc Besson 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 blockbusters of its day, and let’s face it: its science argument fairly standard fiction would have been largely forgotten were it not 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 costumes, he couldn’t imagine anyone else but Jean Paul Gaultier for work. Gaultier’s work turned out to be one of the most ambitious conceptual achievements in the history of cinematographic costumes: she created more than 1,000 individual costumes for the film, as well as an entire fictional stylistic language. From futuristic McDonald’s waitresses to sultry stewardesses in puffy hats, even anonymous roles were dressed to impress.

This massive production allowed this film to have an impact on fashion, and although Gaultier was already incredibly famous, The Fifth Element he 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 that he had already established on the runway and tap into 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 blockbuster movies. Gaultier took advantage of the film’s extraterrestrial setting to use Ruby Rhod (played by Chris Tucker), a beast dressed in leopard and inspired by Princeand Jean Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (played by Gary Oldman), a villainous mix of Asian, Italian, and American South aesthetics, to showcase her aesthetic preferences. In Gaultier’s words, “I talked to Luc about what is futuristic, and we decided that there could be elements of today… anything is possible”.

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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

“The Fifth Elements”. Photography: Columbia Pictures

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 roller skates to move more easily, it is one of the favorites of who cosplay from the movie.

2. Ruby Rhodes, Cover Girl

"The Fifth Element". Photography: Columbia Pictures
“The Fifth Elements”. Photography: Columbia Pictures

The first of Ruby Rhod’s character’s two looks on this list is a stunning long velvet gown not for the faint of heart or the timid: its most notable feature is an artificial rhinestone collar that highlights Rhod’s collarbone, which she wears also a great necklace with a Ruby that would have nothing to envy to the one in the movie Titanics.

3. Leeloo’s Orange Harness

"The Fifth Element". Photography: Columbia Pictures
“The Fifth Elements”. Photography: Columbia Pictures

This look from our heroine, Leeloo, could go unnoticed as utilitarian in any other circumstance: after all, khaki pants paired with a cotton crop top is hardly a new idea, but what Gaultier did was add an incredible harness of silicone that gave that extra touch, futuristic, and unforgettable to the outfit, very inspired by Barbaralla.

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4. The stewardesses

"The Fifth Element". Photography: Columbia Pictures
“The Fifth Elements”. Photography: Columbia Pictures

Without a doubt, one of the most imitated loos in pop culture since the premiere of The Fifth Element it is that of the stewardesses, which varies from sky blue to royal blue: but always with winged hats, mini skirts at the hips and a top full of suggestive lines and the structure for which Gaultier became known in his career.

5. Diva Plavalaguna

"The Fifth Element". Photography: Columbia Pictures
“The Fifth Elements”. Photography: Columbia Pictures

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 operatic diva and blue-skinned alien, whose voice reminds us of a siren’s song. Her outfit, with a collar, sleeves, hips and wrists made of metal in a blue latex dress is undoubtedly one of the ones we remember the most.

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6. Zorg’s Crew

"The Fifth Element". Photography: Columbia Pictures
“The Fifth Elements”. Photography: Columbia Pictures

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, no shirt and a kind of leather tie whose knot is simply a medallion, while his companions wear leather on their pants with tight neoprene tops to accentuate their muscles, synonymous with their menacing power.

7. Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg

"The Fifth Element". Photography: Columbia Pictures
“The Fifth Elements”. Photography: Columbia Pictures

One of the best dressed in the movie is Gary Oldman, who played the villain Zorg. In his looks there is a bit of an oriental sensibility with Mao collars and delicate silks, but with a futuristic twist in the materials: he wears a marked pinstripe, and his iridescent shirt gives it that touch. flashy of wealthy thug, not to mention the high collar and its transparent frontal accessory on the head.

8. Ruby Rhodes 2: Animal Print

"The Fifth Element". Photography: Columbia Pictures
“The Fifth Elements”. Photography: Columbia Pictures

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 neck that allows the golden necklace that complements the look to stand out. Special mention deserves the blond afro pompadour hairstyle that goes with it.

9. Iconic Leeloo

"The Fifth Element". Photography: Columbia Pictures
“The Fifth Elements”. Photography: Columbia Pictures

This is, without a doubt, the first outfit that many think of when talking about The Fifth Element: the simple and utilitarian outfit with white bands with which the character of Leeloo is presented to us, innocent, scared, and ready to take a leap into the unknown.

10. BabyRay

"The Fifth Element". Photography: Columbia Pictures
“The Fifth Elements”. Photography: Columbia Pictures

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 tone and platinum hair in practically the same color, his appearance was brief, but memorable.

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10 Looks From “The Fifth Element” That Made Jean Paul Gaultier A Futuristic Fashion Visionary


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