Saturday, June 30, 2012

Jean Paul Gaultier at the De Young

Oh lucky, lucky me. A couple weeks ago I was able to meet three very good friends in San Francisco and attend Gaultier's retrospective at the de Young- The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.  After a cup of not-so-wonderful hotel room coffee,  I donned the outfit I'd chosen for the day- my favorite JPG skirt, layered over the Wichee Indian woven skirt I purchased in Buenos Aires and a rehabbed linen tunic- to rendezvous with my peeps.

I had attended a couple other shows at the de Young- Vivienne Westwood and Yves Saint Laurent- so I knew the venue would be wonderful.  But it wasn't until I walked into the exhibit, that I realized how wonderful. We were greeted by Jean Paul Gaultier himself, or rather a life-size mannequin with a digital projection of his face, talking to us about his life, inspiration and work.  As I scanned the first of several rooms, I saw that the other mannequins appeared to be animated, as well. Their eerily expressive faces spoke to the exhibit visitors as their eyes roamed the room.  For this presentation, Gaultier partnered with the Montreal-based theater company Ubu Compagnie de Création in the design of the 30 animated mannequins.  The exhibit included 140 haute couture and pret a porter designs from the 1970s through 2010 through a series of connected rooms, accompanied by sketches, photographs and video clips. Throughout his career, Gaultier has collaborated with many artists, filmakers and musicians.  Most of you will remember Gaultier's collaboration with Madonna on her "Blond Ambition" tour - the famous bullet bra costume.  The exhibit runs through August 19, 2012.

Jean Paul Gaultier talked to us about his life and work

Classified ad placed by Jean Paul Gaultier

"Guadalupe" gown. Virgins (or Madonnas) collection
haute couture spring/summer 2007 (Photo courtesy of Bien Vestido)

Madonna's corset from her
Blond Ambition World Tour 1990
(Photo courtesy of Bien Vestido)

Sketches from the Blond Ambition Tour (Photo courtesy of Bien Vestido)

My personal favorite - Tribute to Russia and Ukraine collection Haute couture,  Fall-Winter 2005-2006
(From the de Young website)

From the first collection Spring/Summer 1997...Reminds me of the movie "Desperately Seeking Susan"
(Photo courtesy of Bien Vestido)

Beaded body suit from Pret a Porter Spring/Summer 1993- as famously worn by Naomi Campbell
(image from a postcard I purchased)

"Immaculata" gown Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2007 as worn by Kyle Minogue
(image from a postcard I purchased)

Ad campaign for the Tribute to Frida Kahlo Collection Women's pret-a-porter Spring/Summer 1998
(image from a postcard I purchased)

And one of the nicest surprises of the day was when I realized that the skirt I was wearing was from the 1998 ready-to-wear collection that paid homage to Frida Kahlo. I had no idea he had created a complete spring/summer collection inspired by my favorite artist.

Now I love my Jean Paul Gaultier skirt even more

In an extremely gracious and generous gesture, the de Young allowed non-flash photography throughout the exhibit. You can imagine how excited I was to be able to take pictures.  Unfortunately, due to an unfortunate but highly entertaining set of circumstances, I lost the photos and my iPhone. Remind me to tell you that story.

Thank you to Lesa Porche of Bien Vestido for sharing her photos from the exhibit. She has an incredibly intriguing fashion blog that I'm sure you'll enjoy visiting.  And she's a big fan of Marni, so you know she has extremely good fashion sense.  :)

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