The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier
One of my favourite things about living in a city like Melbourne now is that there's so much to see and do. When it comes to the arts and culture, the city is thriving, and while I admittedly didn't know much about French designer, Jean Paul Gaultier, when I heard his exhibition was in town, I knew this would be something worth checking out. Having ran from October right through to the beginning of February at the National Gallery of Victoria, I managed to catch the exhibition during its last few days here. Entitled The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, over 140 garments were showcased, so naturally, you can understand why this post is very image heavy! I actually narrowed it down a lot, but the exhibition turned out to be so much more awe-inspiring than I ever imagined that I just had to share the full experience with you all.
Upon entering the exhibition, we were greeted by Jean Paul Gaultier "himself", French accent and all. With the use of projectors, some of the mannequins were made to look lifelike and even talked and made facial expressions. Within the exhibition were seven themes - The Odyssey, The Boudoir, Punk Cancan, Skin Deep, Metropolis, Urban Jungle and Muses. Inspired by unconventional types of beauty, The Odyssey was one of my favourite themes, showing Gaultier's couture pieces and some of which took over 1000 hours to make! When it comes to haute couture, the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne requires all garments to be completely made by hand - something about fashion I was not even aware of! The attentional to detail on these pieces was just incredible and I feel like you could literally see the hard work that went into making these beautiful, beautiful garments.
Punk Cancan was another highlight of the exhibition, which saw Gaultier inspired by the streets of London. The Union Jack, mohawks, fishnet stockings, leather and tartan skirts, I'm not sure what it is about the punk movement that I find so fascinating, but I guess it's just so raw, outrageous and I just love street style in general. After coming out of the beautiful haute couture pieces of The Odyssey, Punk Cancan was completely expected, but also completely welcomed and perhaps the theme I found the most fun. In Urban Jungle, Gaultier creates his pieces by fusing the cultures of different countries together and celebrates both ethnicity and diversity. This was also one of my favourite themes as I loved his take on the Mongolian vests and turbans. Here, he also explored the world of the animal kingdom and I must say, I've never been a fan of feathers or leopard print in clothing until viewing Gaultier's work.
The exhibition came to a close with the theme entitled, Muses, which as the name suggests, showcased pieces worn by his models and muses. He was drawn to unusual models and going against the mainstream, selected a diverse range of models of different ages, races, genders and body shapes. Having viewed the exhibition for about two and a half hours, I left feeling inspired and thankful I was able to witness these incredible garments in the flesh. It was awesome to see someone do something different from what you would typically consider "high fashion" and he's now a designer I'll definitely be paying more attention to in the future.