Remember the ’90s, when the 50 State Quarters program was enacted and every transaction became an opportunity to exchange the glorious crags of Colorado for a fat Georgia peach?
Those years before Pokémon Go were fun.
Anyway, Monnaie de Paris—France’s equivalent of the U.S. Mint—has released a limited-edition series of silver 10€ pieces (about $11.78), available for a limited time in certain post offices. Created in partnership with fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier—he of irresistible sailors and femme fatales who just hang out in corsets—the 12 pieces were produced to represent 12 different regions of France … just like the 50 State Quarter program!
Except a Georgia peach will be far from the raciest regional depiction. Each coin will be filtered through the eyes of Gaultier, “the enfant terrible of fashion.” Here’s an abstract whiff of what you can expect, created by Parisian agency La Chose with director Hugo Ramirez, in collaboration with illustrator Leïla Courtillon.
Monnaie de Paris is apparently the oldest enterprise in the world. It was officially founded in 864, with the Edict of Pistres—giving it a full 1,153 years of history. (Who knew?)
And while the stereotype of the sexy sailor, and waiting women clad only in whalebone, is probably just as old, Gaultier’s treatment of the topic is strangely egalitarian: Both sexes are made unreasonably desirable in objectively ridiculous contexts. Both are chased, and give chase.
The coins are at least roughly inspired by the regions they’re drawn from. In glimpses at the end of the spot, we see pieces decked with muscly mariniers and women in gowns—both visibly, unmistakably striped. (It’s funny; if you’re really married to sailor stripes, you can cradle-to-grave it: Start with Petit Bateau, then plunge face-first into your midlife crisis with Jean Paul Gaultier.)
And of course, there’s the crowning glory—the Eiffel Tower itself, wrestled into a corset and sporting heels. As if to bless the notion, a bird flies past, and the Tower glistens from behind.
It’s weird, to be honest. But it’s also whimsical, in keeping with fantasies about Paris specifically, and Gaultier’s aesthetic. This is also not the first time he’s toyed with precious metal; in 2012, Gaultier worked with Dallas-based Dillon Gage Metals to produce a one-ounce hunk of gold bullion, stamped with his own design.
The campaign will appear on TV, in select media and online, with a website and display campaign created by Ecrans&Media. The coins will be available in select post offices throughout France from Sept. 24 to Feb. 24, leaving you plenty of time to steal over and hoard a few as souvenirs, or at the very least to complement what remains of your 50 State Quarters collection.
Alternatively, if you’d like a piece of France but coins just ain’t your jam, you could just buy gum. You won’t even have to leave the airport, much less wait in a post office line.
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