The Fashion World of Jean-Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, which runs to Aug 3 at The Grand Palais Museum, displays more than 300 pieces, made up of haute couture and ready-to-wear designs from between 1976 and the present day, accompanied by videos and pictures.
It also has mannequins with animated faces winking at passers-by.
Gaultier, who designed the infamous cone bra and corset that Madonna wore for her 1990 world tour, says the exhibition is not a retrospective but a creation in itself. “I tried to display them by theme, themes that are important to me like working on skin, tattoos, piercing, androgenicity, the strong woman, the sexy woman as well, corsets, ethnicities,” he says.
Designs, sketches, stage costumes, film footage as well as his old teddy bear are all on display, illustrating his colourful journey from a creative childhood to world-renowned couturier.
“I was lucky that my grandmother was different, that she had black feathers, an extraordinary corset and also she gave beauty advice to her clients. I was there and I witnessed this, I was probably 9 or 10 years old,” he says.
The exhibition has already shown in other locations, such as New York and Melbourne, but it stops for the first time in fashion capital Paris, where Gaultier shows his designs on the catwalk.
“It’s like the return of the ‘enfant terrible’ in Paris,” says Thierry-Maxime Loriot, curator at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts where the exhibition first opened in 2011, adding that it has an important social message: “You can see it through the exhibition with the mannequins, that speak, that reflect his universe but also the different skin tones and different body shapes throughout the exhibition.”
Gaultier announced in September 2014 that he will be quitting his ready-to-wear line to focus on haute couture, industry collaborations and perfume. – Reuters