The enfant terrible of French fashion

Yet another museum exhibition on a prolific fashion designer.   As Alex mentioned in an earlier post, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is showing The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, the first exhibition devoted to Jean-Paul Gaultier.

What amazes me is that Gaultier never received formal training as a designer.  He worked under Pierre Cardin as an assistant and a few years later, released his first individual collection in 1976. He has been known as the enfant terrible of French fashion ever since, taking inspirations from street wear and popular culture. His most celebrated projects probably include the sculptured costumes for Madonna during the 90s. The infamous cone-bra for her 1990 Blond Ambition Tour left an imprint in our memories.

Like Yamamoto, Gaultier used unconventional models for his shows. Employing older men, full-figured women, pierced and heavily tattooed models, Gaultier pushed the boundaries with his creativity and ingenuity.

Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, explained “I wanted to create an exhibition on Jean Paul Gaultier more than any other couturier because of his great humanity. Beyond the technical virtuosity resulting from exceptional expertise in the various skills involved in haute couture, an unbridled imagination and ground-breaking artistic collaborations, he offers an open-minded vision of society, a crazy, sensitive, funny, sassy world in which everyone can assert his or her own identity, a world without discrimination, a unique ‘fusion couture.’ Beneath Jean Paul Gaultier’s wit and irreverence lie a true generosity of spirit and a very powerful message for society. His humanist aesthetic touches me deeply.”

The exhibition features approximately 120 ensembles created between 1976 and 2010. Most of the pieces have never been exhibited.  The exhibition is organised along six different themes; the Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier; the Boudoir; Skin Deep; Eurostar; Urban Jungle; and Metropolis. They trace the influences, from the streets of Paris to the world of science fiction, that have marked Gaultier’s creative development.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk runs through 2nd October 2011 and will travel to the Dallas Museum of Art (9 November 2011 to 12 February  2012) and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young (24 March to 12 August 2012).

X Sybil

(All images from Montreal Museum of Fine Arts website)

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Bringing out the art in fashion

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