Faeces, fucking and fashion

Five iconic Eurotrash moments: Jean-Paul Gaultier’s defining late-night 90s talkshow
By Bailey Slater | Fashion | 23 August 2022

Last Thursday, the Twitter account for the fashion world’s definitive 90s talk show – Eurotrash – delivered some incredible news. Save for Jean Paul Gaultier and Antoine de Caunes returning to our screens to dish on European politics with OnlyFans stars and Eurovision has-beens, we’ve got the next best thing: Eurotrash is being reissued on DVD. That’s right, the £69 (no comment) boxset contains a whopping sixteen seasons of chaotic interviews and razor-sharp appraisals of popular culture from the 90s and beyond.

Whilst huge news for fans of the original broadcast, the show’s sort-of return opens up Channel 4’s late-night world to an entirely new generation previously unfamiliar with Gaultier’s stint as presenter to the stars. Together, he and de Caunes celebrated culture high and low, inviting fixtures of the high fashion realm, from Naomi Campbell, Pierre et Gillies, Karen Mulder, Helena Christensen and the perpetually cat-eyed Amanda Lear (who chats gleefully to Gaultier about her gay icon status) cosy up alongside a meeting with France’s youngest pop prodigy, an artist who paints exclusively with his own faecal matter, and a Post-era Björk’s trip to the forests of Wales. 

The show, of course, had many iconic moments over its eleven-year reign, most of them involving the nude or semi-nude body, so we figured we might as well round up some of our favourites, for research purposes.

Streaky Clean

You truly haven’t lived until you’ve seen Jean-Paul’s cheeky, monochromatic face used to censor a nude cleaner’s backside. This censor cloaks one half of a Romeo Cleaners employee, who are Germany’s first nude cleaning agency, but who exactly ordered these threadbare assistants? You have a pre-talkshow Paul O’Grady, a.k.a. Lily Savage, and her filthy Berlin apartment to thank for that.

An Oral History of Sex

A uniform of spiky collars, greasy caps, puffy PVC jackets and curled up whip are hardly what you’d expect to see Holly, Phil, Ruth or even Eamonn toting as they address the nation each morning, but back in Eurotrash’s reign, such outfits were par for the course, rudimentary, even. Such clobber could only accompany a detailed segment on the history of sadomasochism – “One of my favourite leisure activities!” quips Gaultier – which, if you didn’t know, derives in part from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 classic, Venus In Furs.

Björk hides raw meat inside a chest of drawers in Dolgellau

Don’t ask how she got there, why she went there, or what she was actually doing there, simply sit back and watch the Icelandic provocateur enchant director Michael Gondry on a rainy day in Wales. Catching the singer in-between takes of a shoot for Isobel, she confesses an undying love for mad-scientists and big-spectacled nerds, including Gondry himself, to the Eurotrash camera crew, whilst also offering a gripping synopsis of the tale behind the song, from biblical moth-attacks to forest-centric gentrification.

Shit Art… no, really.

Hearing two grown men repeat the words “poo-poo” is enough to send anyone crazy, but unfortunately this is a much-needed introduction into the artistic endeavours of Paris-based artist Jacques Lizene. Dubbed “crap art” by Maria McErlane, the Belgian painter first began experimenting with his fecal deposits in 1977, acting as his own paint tube, which is just not nearly as glamorous as it sounds. Lysine’s segment also details the approach he takes in creating his palette, eating spinach for green hues and peppers for yellow. The more you know…

Raving Rabanne

Of the many style-inclined interviews Gaultier’s cultural cachet managed to pull into the show’s orbit, landing an interview with Paco Rabanne is an undoubted highlight. Here, the chain-mail obsessed architect of the silhouette gives a riveting talk on fashion’s prophetic nature, his experience costuming Barbarella and the unwearable scandal of his Twelve Experimental Dresses collection in 1964. Rabanne even delves into his arrival on earth, 78,000 years before the interview, and describes the shift in affection towards supermodels over garments and designers as a “perversion of civilisation” – ouch!

Eurotrash Seasons 1-16 is available for pre-order here, releasing September 26th, 2022

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