The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
Through February 12, 2012
Dallas Museum of Art
1717 North Harwood
Hours: Tue – Wed 11am – 5pm; Thurs: 11 am – 9pm; Fri – Sun: 11am – 5pm
The Dallas Museum of Art’s innovative exhibition, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, is the first international exhibition devoted completely to the life and work of the French designer, and will be the first exhibition at DMA to solely be dedicated to fashion.
The exhibit, which opened November 13, pays tribute to all Jean Paul Gaultier’s 40-year career, and will include over 130 pieces from his couture collections as well as from his pret-a-porter line – many of which have never been shown before. Those who attend the exhibit will get a unique look the man who has long been known as the “enfant terrible” of fashion since his first runway show in the 1970s.
Gaultier has said he favored unconventional types of beauty because as a child he was drawn to women who didn’t look like everyone else. Before debuting his couture collection in the late 90s, Gaultier was known for using unconventional models that were older, heavier, pierced and even tattooed. Gaultier’s pieces won’t be the only work of art displayed at the exhibition, the DMA is creating their own art work: an interactive audio-visual production of photographs, sketches, interviews and music engulfing all that Gaultier lived through and lived for.
The exhibition will be broken into six different thematic sections: “The Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier,” “The Boudoir,” “Skin Deep,” “Punk Cancan,” “Urban Jungle,” and “Metropolis.”
“The Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier” highlights the tradition of, and his personal skill in, haute couture as well as his prêt-à-porter (or ready-to-wear) line. Gaultier taught himself the craft in 1970. He started a prêt-à-porter women’s line in 1976, a men’s line in 1983, and opened up his own couture house in 1990, showcasing two collections a year. Haute couture receives so much media attention because it’s a line of clothing that’s tedious, rare and something the general public can’t afford. The pieces are so expensive because everything from the embroidery, to the lace, to final touches is handmade.
“The Boudoir” highlights Gaultier’s fascination with corsets. As a young boy his grandmother introduced him to women’s fashions and the movie Falbalas, which told the story of a young fashion designer. Gaultier became inspired and renovated the idea of early day corsets and waist-cinchers. Instead of concealing the stomach, Gaultier’s corsets emphasized it. He also coined the cone bra, which is most famously known as being worn by Madonna in her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour.
“Skin Deep” highlights Gaultier’s fascination with the skin and body, however his inspiration is atypical. He endorses plus sized models, and when searching for models requests that, “the conventionally pretty need not apply.” In the early 1980s Gaultier developed looks that included the hyper-sexualized and transgendered. With The Modern Man is his line of men’s couture that includes delicate, sophisticated materials that emphasize the man’s fragile, sensitive side. He also encourages women to express their masculine side, which can be seen in Madonna’s dominatrix outfits of her 2006 Confessions Tour.
“Punk Cancan” highlights Gaultier’s love for Paris from the streets to high society. Gaultier attributes La Foulue, Arietty, Micheline Presle and Juilette Greco as some of his icons and creates innovative twists to a number of their staple items. This line doesn’t cater to one socioeconomic circle but instead incorporates both the suburban streets of Paris while also adding the flare of higher society. Gaultier was introduced into the punk style in the early 70’s when he traveled to London and began to tap into the nonconformist fashion. For this line he combined the punk style with the principle of recycling that his grandmother installed in him as a young boy and the outcome was one of an offbeat destroyed look.
“Urban Jungle” highlights Gaultier’s interpretation and appreciation for doing away with boundaries of fashion. In his line Gaultier morphs women into animals with the help of layered feathers, animal skins and pelts.
“Metropolis” highlights Gaultier’s ability in always being fashion forward and showcases his love for spectacle. Whether he’s introducing vinyl or inflatable fabrics, or he’s advocating for recycling by transforming aluminum cans into bracelets, Gaultier is always innovative.
Gaultier’s vision has had a global impact on pup culture: music, film, and contemporary dance. And those who attend the exhibit at the DMA will also get a first hand experience to Gaultier himself. There will be 30 animated, talking mannequins (including one of Gaultier) to provide commentary.
Visit www.dm-art.org for more information on the exhibit.