Friday, 6 June 2014

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

Jean Paul Gaultier, Virgin Mary, Barbican
Virgin Mary inspired headdress (2007)
Jean Paul Gaultier, mermaid dress, mermaid collection
A look from the Mermaid Collection (2008)
Jean Paul Gaultier, Ze Parisienne, Sailor Stripes
Sailor Stripes from the Ze Parisienne Collection (2002)
Jean Paul Gaultier, Dita von Teese, Corset
Full body stockings worn by Dita von Teese
Jean Paul Gaultier, denim corset, silk denim
A gown made of silk to look like denim from the Ze Parisienne Collection (2002)
Jean Paul Gaultier, Punk, British Punk
British Punk inspired dress
Jean Paul Gaultier, The Fifth Element, Ruby Rhod
Leopard suit worn by Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod in the movie "The Fifth Element" (1997)
Jean Paul Gaultier, Hommage a l'Afrique, wedding dress, face
Dresses from the Hommage à l'Afrique Collection (2005)
Jean Paul Gaultier, Black Swan Collection, Ribbon Dress
Ribbon Dress from the Black Swan Collection (2011)
Jean Paul Gaultier, Cone Bra, Madonna, Corset, Blonde Ambition
Cone bra and corsets worn by Madonna during her Blonde Ambition tour (1990)

Let me tell you about a highlight of the year: The first major exhibition about French avant-garde fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier at the Barbican Gallery in London. Debuting in Montreal in 2011, the exhibition has already been seen by more than a million people on it's tour and stops now in London till 25th August 2014, featuring a breathtaking amount of more than 140 fashion masterpieces. 

Not only the presented garments are outstanding, but the way they are shown as well: If you enter the exhibition, you are greeted by a talking mannequin of Gaultier himself with his charming French accent. You will be amazed by how alive fashion seems, worn by animated mannequins, talking, winking and even flirting with the visitors.

Gaultier was born 1952 in the suburbs of Paris (France) and never received a formal training as a designer. He started to sketch at an early age and became one of the most imaginative designers, shaping the world of fashion during the last 40 years. The enfant terrible of French fashion is fascinated by the idea of transgender dressing, upcycling and world coutures. You will find his trademark corsets in the exhibition as well as maritime designs featuring mermaids and sailors, punks and madonnas, just to name a few of the milestones in the work of the witty designer.

Unlike many other designers, Gaultier managed to connect his fashion with pop culture, movies and show business. Iconic costumes for film and performance – such as the leopard costume worn by Chris Tucker in Luc Besson's "The Fifth Element", the conical bra and corsets from Madonna's Blonde Ambition tour or the black overall showcased by Grace Jones  – are part of the exhibition.

Gaultier is known for having unconventional models and muses. Neither his clothes, nor the people inspiring him are conventional. Full-figured or tattooed models has been part of many of his shows just like the play with traditional gender roles. Gaultier was as well the one who promoted the use of skirts for men. His work is controversial and never without unexpected twists, dipping from multifarious sources of inspiration. Visiting the exhibition gives you a glance into Gaultier's magnificent, bubbling imagination, definitely a must see!

My suggestion for a perfect day:
Visit the exhibition on a morning and plan enough time. Head to Camden afterwards, to feel connected with Gaultier at a place that inspires him and he always comes back to.

For more information, visit the Barbican's page.


  1. Adore him!! Some of my favourite pieces are by him, works of art to wear!! I only wish I could afford it, hahaha!! Have a gorgeous weekend my dear!! Xxx

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