Thursday, April 14, 2011

THE FASHION WORLD OF JEAN PAUL GAULTIER: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

Press Release


Montreal – From June 17 to October 2, 2011, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) will present The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, the first exhibition devoted to the celebrated French couturier who launched his first prêt‐à‐porter collection in 1976 and founded his own couture house in 1997.

Dubbed fashion’s enfant terrible by the press from the time of his first runway shows in the 1970s, Jean Paul Gaultier is indisputably one of the most important fashion designers of recent decades. Very early, his avant‐garde fashions reflected an understanding of a multicultural society’s issues and preoccupations, shaking up – with invariable good humour – established societal and aesthetic codes. Initiated, developed, produced and circulated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to mark the thirty‐fifth anniversary of the designer’s own label, this exploration of Jean Paul Gaultier’s creative world has been organized in collaboration with the Maison Jean Paul Gaultier. Following its presentation in Montreal, the exhibition will travel to the Dallas Museum of Art (November 9, 2011–February 12, 2012) and then to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young (March 24–August 12, 2012).

“I wanted to create an exhibition on Jean Paul Gaultier more than any other couturier because of his great humanity,” explained Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. “Beyond the technical virtuosity resulting from exceptional expertise in the various skills involved in haute couture, an unbridled imagination and ground‐breaking artistic collaborations, he offers an open‐minded vision of society, a crazy, sensitive, funny, sassy world in which everyone can assert his or her own identity, a world without discrimination, a unique ‘fusion couture.’ Beneath Jean Paul Gaultier’s wit and irreverence lie a true generosity of spirit and a very powerful message for society. His humanist aesthetic touches me deeply.”

The exhibition – which the couturier considers to be not only a retrospective but a creation in its own right – will feature approximately 120 ensembles, mainly from the designer’s couture collections, but also from his prêt‐à‐porter line, along with their accessories. Created between 1976 and 2010, for the most part these pieces have never been exhibited. Many other exhibits are also being presented for the first time. Sketches, stage costumes, excerpts from films, runway shows, concerts, videos, dance performances and even television programmes will illustrate the artistic collaborations that have characterized Gaultier’s world: in film (Pedro Almodóvar, Peter Greenaway, Luc Besson, Marc Caro and Jean‐Pierre Jeunet) and contemporary dance (Angelin Preljocaj, Régine Chopinot and Maurice Béjart), not to mention the world of popular music, in France (Yvette Horner and Mylène Farmer…) and on the international scene (Madonna and Kylie Minogue…). 

Fashion photography will also be a major focus of attention, thanks to loans of, in many cases, never‐before‐seen prints from renowned photographers and contemporary artists (Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Erwin Wurm, David LaChapelle, Richard Avedon, Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, Steven Klein, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Pierre et Gilles, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Paolo Roversi and Robert Doisneau…).

Keenly interested in all the world’s cultures and countercultures, Gaultier has picked up on the current trends and proclaimed the right to be different, and in the process conceived a new kind of fashion in both the way it is made and worn. Through twists, transformations, transgressions and reinterpretations, he not only erases the boundaries between cultures but also the sexes, creating a new androgyny or playing with subverting hypersexualized fashion codes.

Celebrating the daring inventiveness of his cutting‐edge designs, as well as exploring the audaciously eclectic sources of his ideas, the exhibition will be organized along six different thematic sections tracing the influences, from the streets of Paris to the world of science fiction, that have marked the couturier’s creative development: The Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier; The Boudoir; Skin Deep; Eurostar; Urban Jungle; and Metropolis.

Under the leadership of Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the exhibition Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is curated by the MMFA’s Thierry‐Maxime Loriot.

The sophisticated exhibition design will showcase the couturier’s designs, as well as prints and video clips that illustrate Gaultier’s many fruitful artistic collaborations. Thirty mannequins with animated faces provided by ingenious audiovisual projections will be placed throughout the galleries, surprising visitors with their lifelike presence. The design and staging of this poetic and playful audiovisual creation has been entrusted to Denis Marleau and Stéphanie Jasmin of the Montreal theatre company UBU. Several celebrities, including Jean Paul Gaultier, models Ève Salvail and Francisco Randez, singer and filmmaker Melissa Auf der Maur, soprano Suzie Leblanc, and TV host Virginie Coosa, have agreed to lend their faces – and sometimes even their voices – to this unique project, which is being presented in a museum for the first time.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will publish a major monograph on the occasion of this exhibition in collaboration with Abrams for the English edition and the Éditions de La Martinière for the French edition. Produced under the general editorship of Thierry‐Maxime Loriot, this magnificent volume (424 pages and over 500 illustrations) will include many interviews with Gaultier’s mentors, muses and colleagues, as well as the artists he has worked with: Pedro Almodóvar, Catherine Deneuve, Madonna, Helen Mirren, Martin Margiela, Pierre Cardin, Dita Von Teese, Marion Cotillard, Kylie Minogue, Polly Mellen and Tom Ford, to name just a few. It will feature many previously unpublished illustrations from renowned fashion photographers and the Maison Gaultier archives. An essay written by Suzy Menkes, journalist at The New York Times and fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune, will look at Jean Paul Gaultier’s fashion shows and examine their visionary reflection of society’s evolution over the past thirty‐five years. The work will include two interviews with the designer himself, in addition to an interview with Valerie Steele, fashion historian and director of New York’s The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), as well as a timeline of Gaultier’s career and a complete bibliography. The catalogue’s graphic design has been entrusted to the Montreal agency Paprika.


The sections of this multimedia exhibition will provide a thematic approach to the world of Jean Paul Gaultier, tracing the influences, from the streets of Paris to the world of science fiction, that have shaped the couturier’s creative development. Holding up a mirror to the society that has marked his times, this exhibition, which Gaultier considers his “biggest show ever,” will be punctuated by many excerpts from videos, some of them previously unreleased, as well as many never‐before‐exhibited prints from the greatest names in fashion and art photography, including Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Robert Doisneau, Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, Pierre et Gilles, Mario Testino, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Ellen von Unwerth and Bettina Rheims, to name just a few.


An introduction to the couturier’s creative world through the intermingling of many of his favourite themes: sailors, mermaids and virgins will enable visitors to discover his various adaptations of sailor tops and uniforms, including Gaultier’s very first dress, which he created in the 1970s and which is being presented for the first time.


Gaultier’s first sketches from the early 1960s reveal his interest in corsets and lingerie, which can be traced back to a childhood often spent in the company of his grandmother, who introduced him to women’s fashions, and Falbalas (1944), a film that tells the story of a young couturier’s rise that left a lasting impression. The designer’s predilection for all manner of feminine lingerie led him to reinvent classic looks, to reinterpret lingerie, cone‐shaped bras and corset dresses into symbols of power in women’s fashion. What was previously hidden is now visible, as cage dresses and corsets enter contemporary fashion.


Skin – which he describes as being the first garment – has been a constantly renewed source of inspiration for the designer. Indeed, in Jean Paul Gaultier’s hands, clothing becomes a second skin, sometimes through trompe‐l’oeil effects that give the illusion of nudity (such as in the films of Pedro Almodóvar), a flayed human body (Mylène Farmer) or tattoos (Régine Chopinot). A fascination with skin guides his creations and fuels his limitless imagination, which vacillates between romanticism and fetishism. Drawing inspiration from both Pigalle’s sex shops and London’s tattooed punks, Gaultier dresses his new‐style warrior‐women in latex and leather, fishnet and laces, filling their closets with “ready‐for‐sex” garments both outrageous and elegant.


Born in a suburb of Paris, Jean Paul Gaultier feels a strong attachment to both European capitals. Between Paris’s rough‐and‐ready Pigalle and the rock attitude of London’s Trafalgar Square, the couturier’s fascination with the Parisienne and her iconic embodiments (Kiki de Montparnasse, Arletty, Juliette Gréco and Catherine Deneuve), as well as the symbols of Paris – the beret and the trench coat, the cigarette between the lips and the phallic Eiffel Tower – leads to his borrowing and subverting of them. Gaultier never misses an opportunity to pay tribute to Paris, its elegant women dressed in trench coats, suits and couture dresses, with their impeccable lines, who will be seen strutting down the catwalk in the exhibition before punks dressed in leather and bondage straps.


Here can be seen the various influences of the multicultural and ethnically diverse society the designer observes within the many tribes of the urban jungle: the Arabs of the Barbès neighbourhood, boubou‐clad Africans, chic rabbis, Chinese women who morph into flamenco dancers, Russian icons and Bollywood maharajahs. Deriving a new aesthetic from them all, he writes an ode to the unique savoir‐faire of French couture. Spotlighting the mix of cultures and peoples in the major urban centres of today, this section also shows the designer’s incursions into the animal world through the use of leather, as well as python and crocodile, and feathers.


Taking a cue in the late 1970s from new wave and house music, Gaultier’s most futuristic designs led to an exploration of the worlds of advanced technology and science fiction. Since the days of his first electronic jewellery designs and 1979 High‐Tech collection, he has continued to be at the cutting edge of fashion by introducing the use of materials that would normally never be seen on the catwalk (vinyl, Lycra, neoprene, 3‐D fabrics and inflatables). This avant‐gardism is also seen in his many unforgettable collaborations with musicians on the pop and rock scene, in costumes he created for their videos and shows (Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Depeche Mode, Cameo, Mylène Farmer, Kylie Minogue, Niagara, Les Rita Mitsouko, Madonna, Beyoncé, Boy George, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, George Michael, Neneh Cherry, Yvette Horner, Tina Turner and Prince). As seen in his many sketches, costumes and films excerpts, he has also left his mark in the fields of film (Pedro Almodòvar, Peter Greenaway, Luc Besson, Jean‐Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro) and dance (Régine Chopinot, Angelin Preljocaj and Maurice Béjart).


Given the lack of a work providing a retrospective look at Jean Paul Gaultier’s exceptional career, this reference book, illustrated with a wealth of photographs – many of which have never before been published – from runway shows, the design house’s archives and print media, will constitute not only an account of the exhibition, but also serve as a reference for fashion history. Many pictures from the greatest names in photography, including Cindy Sherman, Robert Doisneau, Mario Testino, Pierre et Gilles, Richard Avedon, David LaChapelle, Steven Klein, Steven Meisel, William Klein, Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton, Patrick Demarchelier, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Erwin Wurm, Tim Walker, Miles Aldridge, Francesco Scavullo, Andy Warhol, Anton Corbijn, Peter Lindbergh, Stéphane Sednaoui, Ellen Von Unwerth, Bettina Rheims, Juergen Teller, Perou, Jean‐Baptiste Mondino, Roxanne Lowit, Karl Lagerfeld, Mark Seliger, Arthur Elgort, Craig McDean, Sebastian Faena, Alix Malka, Sølve Sundsbø, Ruven Afanador, Michael Thompson, Paolo Roversi, Willy Vanderperre, Thierry Le Goues, Greg Kadel, Sam Levin, Mark Seliger, Nathaniel Goldberg, Mario Sorrenti, Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello, Kate Barry and Emil Larsson, will show the various periods in the work of the couturier. This large‐sized boxed volume (approximately 14 ⅛ x 11 ¼″) of approximately 424 pages and over 500 illustrations will be produced by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ (MMFA) Publishing Department in English, French and Spanish for the international tour. It will be co‐published with the Éditions de La Martinière (Paris) for its French edition and Abrams (New York) for the English. The catalogue’s graphic design has been entrusted to the renowned Montreal agency Paprika, which has been awarded over 600 prizes, including the prestigious Art Directors Club. This volume will be released in June 2011 and will be sold exclusively at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, before being distributed internationally starting in September.

A tribute to Jean Paul Gaultier’s thirty‐five years of design, the book will contain an essay by Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the MMFA, as well as by one of the most influential figures in the world of fashion, Suzy Menkes, fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune, who will examine Gaultier’s visionary reflection of society’s evolution in his innovative fashion shows from 1976 to 2010. It will also include several interviews by the exhibition’s curator, Thierry‐Maxime Loriot, of the MMFA: an interview with fashion historian Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator of New York’s The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), deals with Gaultier’s use of corsets, mixing of genders and skirts for men; an interview with the designer regarding his creative process and his work in his atelier; and a second interview with French fashion historian Florence Müller on the early years of Gaultier’s design career.

The five sections of the book (Jean Paul Gaultier’s Paris, The Boudoir, Skin Deep, Urban Jungle and Metropolis) reflect the themes of the exhibition and will feature exclusive interviews conducted by Thierry‐Maxime Loriot with many of Jean Paul Gaultier’s collaborators, artists and muses, including Madonna, Martin Margiela, Régine Chopinot, Kylie Minogue, Carla Bruni‐Sarkozy, Pierre Cardin, Catherine Deneuve, Inès de la Fressange, Pedro Almodóvar, Carine Roitfeld, Boy George, Juliette Binoche, Mylène Farmer, Marion Cotillard, Mr. Pearl, Pierre et Gilles, Erin O’Connor, Helen Mirren, Antoine de Caunes, Peter Stuart, Josiane Balasko, Jean‐Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro, Polly Mellen, Odile Gilbert, Arianne Phillips, Milla Jovovich, Dita Von Teese, Tom Ford, Arielle Dombasle, Tanel Bedrossiantz, Farida Khelfa, Tonie Marshall, Micheline Presle, Rossy de Palma, Babeth Djian, Stephen Jones, Ève Salvail, Yvette Horner, Evelyne Gaultier, Frédérique Lorca, Aïtize Hanson, Denis Gagnon, Jacques Cavallier, Francis Kurkdjian, Victoria Abril, Angélin Preljocaj and Stéphane Sednaoui.

The book will also include a biographical timeline illustrated by Jean Paul Gaultier with previously unpublished personal photographs of his collections, an exhaustive filmography and numerous archival documents.

About the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has one of the highest attendance rates among Canadian museums. Every year, its 600,000 visitors enjoy its encyclopedic collection, unique in Canada and free to all, and its original temporary exhibitions, which combine artistic disciplines (fine arts, music, film, fashion, design) and feature innovative exhibition design. The Museum designs, produces and circulates many of its exhibitions in Europe and North America. It is also one of Canada’s leading publishers of bilingual art books, which are distributed worldwide. More than 100,000 families and schoolchildren take part in its educational, cultural and community programmes every year. In 2011, the Museum will open a fourth pavilion dedicated to Canadian and Quebec art, and a 450 seat‐concert hall housing a rare collection of Tiffany stained glass. At the same time, the Museum’s rich collections will be reinstalled in the three other pavilions devoted to ancient cultures, European and contemporary art, as well as the decorative arts and design. Music is now an integral part of the Museum, providing another perspective on the visual arts, through musical audioguides and other innovative activities organized in co‐operation with the new Arte Musica Foundation. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a private, non‐profit institution that must generate the funds for nearly 50% of its annual operating budget and nearly 100% of the acquisition of works for its collection.

Press release and images courtesy of Catherine Guex - MMFA Public Relations.

View pictures from the exhibition:


  1. レイバンのサングラスをつけている人、やっぱ男性の方が多いのでしょうか?実は最近好きな先輩がレイバン RB2140をかけているのを見て、それはカッコよくて胸キュン死そうだったので、自分もそれが欲しくなった。でも、レイバン RB2143もよさそうで迷ってしまった。


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