The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

Hello everyone sorry for posting so late. I just got back in Paris (for I don’t know how long), then I went to Rennes (Brittany) for the week-end. I’m in the train right now to Paris again, and in a few days I’ll be off to the South-west. I am litterally living with my suitcases, but it is all fun…for now.

Today is an article about the amazing exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum about Jean-Paul Gaultier. OMG as people say in America. This exhibition was just close to perfection. All the elements I was waiting for were there. I was amazed, learned so much and had a great visit. I was not expecting that many rooms I must have spend at least 2 and a half hours there.

The article is in two parts: first I am going to talk about the content of the exhibition and then about the “médiation/education” side of it. If you have NO interest in Fashion or in Jean-Paul Gaultier (I don’t judge) you can go straight to that part by scrolling down.

The Exhibition

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

When you enter the exhibition you have a panoramic view of Gautier’s career with a timeline, added to that are a few screens with extracts from some of his shows.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, timelineIf you spend enough time you can realise how versatile his work is. From film costumes, to ballet costumes, to ready-to-wear without forgetting the furniture he designed. I discovered so much about him I quite like that it was so full of details. But I would understand if some visitors thought it was a little bit too much to handle.

The first room is an exhibition of mannequins with amazing haute-couture gowns by the designer. Presented with a musical background that sounds from another world you get closer to the mannequins to look at the textiles, and BAM ! Surprise they move ! Are they alive ?

No but it feels like they are from another world. They installed videprojectors above in the room so they project faces of a model directly onto the heads of the mannequins. They blink, move their lips and sometimes look directly towards you.

I found it quite amusing for so many reasons. First it was so un-classical and unexpected that it makes you smile when you see it for the first time.

And another reason is because I studied Ethnography and the way costumes were exposed in France. Back then they created mannequins with faces to present the local costumes of the different regions but a few years later they took them off. They just put heads without faces so the mannequins would be anonymous, and anybody could relate to the costume. It is funny for me to see the history going backwards in some way. And the faces actually creates some kind of barreer with the visitor who can’t imagine himself or herself in the costumes. And at the same time they look so real…

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, the Virgins collection

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, the Virgins collection

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, the Virgins collection

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, the designer the visitor also in this room discover the designer’s own mannequin. Wearing some of his creation and with his face projected he gives an “introduction” speech and welcome the spectators. It feels like he thought of everything and was very involved in all the steps during the creation of the exhibition.

Here are my favorite dresses of the collection. It is funny though because I realized while I was going through my pictures on my laptop that a few of them come from « Ze Parisienne » collection, I guess I do have a type of clothing that I like. Or we can also say that Gautier really capture the essence of the French woman !

"Romantic India Collection", "Lascar" Gown Haute-Couture, Spring Summer 2000, 160 heures de travail.

Romantic India Collection“, “Lascar” Gown Haute-Couture, Spring Summer 2000, 160 heures de travail.

Guipure Lace Bridal Gown made for the 2012 wedding of Farida Khelfa

Guipure Lace Bridal Gown made for the 2012 wedding of Farida Khelfa

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

"Ze Parisienne" Collection, Haute Couture Spring Summer 2002, Silk tulle and Chantilly Lace long sheath with gored skirt.

Ze Parisienne” Collection, Haute Couture Spring Summer 2002, Silk tulle and Chantilly Lace long sheath with gored skirt.

"Voyage, Voyage" Collection, Women prêt-à-porter fall-winter 2010-11, mini maxi trench-coat dress

Voyage, Voyage” Collection, Women prêt-à-porter fall-winter 2010-11, mini maxi trench-coat dress

The following dresses made me think so much about the movie « L’ours et la Poupée » (The Bear and the Doll). Brigitte Bardot wears a yellow plaid skirt in that movie, with shiny rain boots and a black sweater.L'Ours et la Poupée, Brigitte Bardot, 1970After all the movie was made in 1970, with a feel of the  “swinging sixties”, which came from London and the dresses Jean-Paul Gaultier made are inspired by British Punk. I feel like Fashion is always connected in some way. And yes I love these outfits and I would totally see myself wearing them. Fashion is always in circle apparently Tartan is a must have trend for the Winter season, and how can you say no to a trench coat dress ?

"So British" Collection, Women prêt-à-porter, fall winter 2007-08,

“So British” Collection, Women prêt-à-porter, fall winter 2007-08,

"So British" Collection, Women prêt-à-porter, fall winter 2007-08, Tartan gabardine trench coatdress biker style demi jacket, with vintage Gaultier pins, collection of Frederique Lorca, Paris.

“So British” Collection, Women prêt-à-porter, fall winter 2007-08, Tartan gabardine trench coatdress biker style demi jacket, with vintage Gaultier pins, collection of Frederique Lorca, Paris.

 the “Médiation/Education” side of the exhibition

One thing I really liked was the pannel « Making Connection ». I found it again in the permanent exhibition of the museum.

Making Connection Pannel

Making Connection Pannel

Making Connection Pannel

Making Connection Pannel

It is a way for the visitor to connect two art pieces together and understand how they inspired the designer.

It is like if you would exhibit a Picasso and African Masks in the same room. That way you can truly understand the connection.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk The exhibition ends February 23, 2014, it is a creation by the Fine Arts Museum of Montréal (and clearly makes me want to go there). I believe the exhibition will come to Paris someday, before NYC from June to September it was in Sweden, before that it was in Rotterdam.

The exhibition started in 2011 in Montréal and won a silver medal for the best exhibition layout from the ‘International Design and Communication Awards of New York’.

You can find a lot of info and more pictures here http://www.exposicionesmapfrearte.com/jpg/index.html this is the website of the exhibition when it was in Madrid at the MAPFRE Foundation.

And to conclude this article here is the video made for the exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum

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