Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Parisian on tour

The previous post reminded me of another great show of a fashion designer I saw quite some time ago but haven’t reported about yet. It was an exhibition entitled The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk that was first seen at the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal in 2011 and has been touring the world ever since. I visited the show with our Madrid-based friends at the Fundación Mapfre in Madrid in November 2012. (More about that trip and the wonderful Riojan tour we made with them here.)

As Gaultier is considered the most controversial of the couturiers and as he is world-famous for many celebrated iconic designs, such as the cone bra for Madonna, our expectations were high. Still, entering the Gaultier exhibition took your breath away! It was not that much the theatrical designs but the outstanding staging of the show that made you gasp in amazement. The mannequins seemed to be alive. They were blinking, turning their eyes, moving their lips, smiling... Every now and then a mannequin seemed to be looking straight into your eyes. It was simply magical!

What made it even more fascinating was the fact that they had only moulded the head of a few models for the mannequins so there were several identical faces in the same room at the same time; looking down, looking at you, even laughing or smiling at you. In the middle of it all a life-sized mannequin of Gaultier himself was greeting the visitors, in Madrid in Spanish, French and English. The projectors were rather cleverly hidden in inconspicuous white boxes hanging from the roof.

There were plenty of opportunities to explore the theatrical, even shocking details and brilliant tailoring later in the other halls of the exhibition where the mannequins were mostly faceless. The self-taught ex enfant terrible of the French haute couture is celebrating his magnificent career of more than 40 years in the fashion world with a glorious show bringing his unique creations for the general public to marvel. In Andy Worhol’s words, “Art lies in the way the whole outfit is put together. Take Jean Paul Gaultier. What he does is really art.

If you did not see the exhibition in Montreal, Dallas, San Francisco, Madrid, Rotterdam, Stockholm, or Brooklyn, New York, where the show closed in late February, but will visit London between April and August do pop into the Barbican Centre. The Gaultier show will be there from 9 April to 25 August, 2014.

From London it will travel to Melbourne and finally to the Grand Palais in Paris from April to August, 2015. I am tempted to revisit to devote more time on the genius designs and fabulous tailoring details.

I uploaded my video on YouTube even though it is hopeless. It was my very first video ever with the point-and-shoot camera and uploading made the quality even worse. Nevertheless, it may give you a faint idea of the magic.

Actually, it is exactly the spring of 2015 when we must revisit Paris because of our 10th wedding anniversary. He vowed he will never return but I should think a decade will be enough to forgive the disappointments of your (second) honeymoon. In case you are wondering, Paris turned against us on the last day and we even missed the plane. (I dared write this fresh plan down because he seldom follows me as far as the fine print.)

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