‘The Fifth Element’ Costume That Was Too Effeminate For Prince. The Prince.
Prince toyed with the idea of releasing an entire album under his alter ego, Camille, which was the identity he attributed to the “pitch-shifted vocals” that, for lack of a better description, made his voice sound girly. So, it’s kind of odd that he outright rejected Jean Paul Gaultier’s costume designs for the Ruby Rhod character in The Fifth Element — in which he was originally cast — on the basis that they were “too effeminate.” Via io9:
I showed him my drawings, but he didn’t say a word. I had had an idea for a really funny costume with netting which quite long body hair would pass through, and I had done front and back versions of it. So then I explained to Prince: “Eet eel fake ‘air, you know, and eet eel beaucoup, beaucoup, airy, vraiment fun, and ze back is made of sat, and on ze back were eez ze faux cul, you know, a very big faux cul.” and I slapped my buttocks to show him how the back of the costume would be designed.
Still not saying anything, Prince gave me this Charlie Chaplin kind of look. I could see that something had just happened, but I didn’t know what, only that he had indicated to his body guard that he wanted to leave right then and there. I thought he was going to go and see Luc. Later, Luc told me that Prince had been very surprised and amused — by my presentation, but that he found the costumes a bit too effeminate. And, most importantly, he had thought he head “Fuck you, fuck you!” when I was saying in my terrible English accent “faux cul, faux cul” [fake ass]!
Those are Jean Paul Gaultier’s own words, including what his ears think English sounds like, so it’s entirely possible that when he thought Prince said “No thanks, too effeminate,” what he really said was “Why the fuck would I dress like a pube monster caught in a tuna net?” Because here are those costume designs:
And here’s the Lovesexy album cover that has absolutely zero purple-flowered, shaved-leg fucks about femininity, masculinity or anything other than being a certified bad motherfucker at all times.
Photo: Getty, Jean Paul Gaultier