The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk Exhibition
Jean Paul Gaultier Fashion Exhibition in Australia
I am honoured and flattered that my exhibition will travel to Australia and I am thrilled to be returning to a country that I have visited only once, many years ago. Preparing this exhibition I have realised how strong my ties to Australia are – Nicole Kidman was my first couture client; Kylie is a dear friend and I have had the pleasure of working closely with her on her tours. I have also been working for many years with models Gemma Ward, Catherine McNeil, Jarrod Scott, and the list goes on. The people are what make this country great and you Australians certainly excel!
Jean Paul Gaultier
This is the first international exhibition devoted to the celebrated French couturier Jean Paul Gaultier. Dubbed fashion’s ‘enfant terrible’ since his first runway shows in the 1970s, Gaultier is indisputably one of the most important fashion designers of recent decades. His avant-garde fashions reflect an understanding of multicultural society’s issues and preoccupations, shaking up – with invariable good humour – established societal and aesthetic conventions. Gaultier offers an open-minded vision of society; his is a crazy, sensitive, funny, sassy world in which everyone can assert his or her own identity.
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk features more than 140 ensembles with accessories, both from the designer’s couture collections and his prêt-à-porter lines. Created between 1970 and 2014, these pieces, as well as many other objects included in the display, have for the most part never been exhibited before. The exhibition celebrates the designer’s daring inventiveness and cutting-edge style through seven themes tracing influences on his creative development, from the streets of Paris to the world of science fiction. Fashion photography is also a major focus of attention, thanks to loans from contemporary photographers and renowned artists.
Jean Paul Gaultier was born in 1952 in Arcueil, a suburb of Paris. As a teenager he made sketches for two collections a year, taking inspiration from fashion magazines, films and television. He developed a critical and analytical sense of fashion, as well as his own design vocabulary. In 1970 Gaultier discovered the tradition and skills of haute couture through working for Pierre Cardin and Jean Patou. Afterwards he went out on his own, starting with women’s prêt-à-porter in 1976, then with men’s in 1983. Twenty years later Gaultier opened his own couture house. From 2004 until 2010 he designed two collections a year for Hermès.
Regulated by the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, haute couture is shown exclusively in Paris. Couture houses must comply with specific requirements regarding how garments are made, presented and sold. Unlike industrially produced prêt-à-porter, couture is the product of exceptional technical virtuosity and, sometimes, hundreds of hours of work. Everything involved in a couture garment – from embroidery and lace to accessories and the finishing touches – must be accomplished by hand. Despite the great deal of media attention afforded to haute couture, the general public is rarely afforded an opportunity to experience it.