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The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier Has Arrived

November 15, 2011

After months of preparation and anticipation, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is now open to the public.  The DMA’s galleries have been transformed into an immersive fashion environment, complete with singing mannequins and a moving catwalk.  I couldn’t stop saying “wow” my first time through the exhibition–I kept forgetting that I was inside the DMA.

Les Vierges collection, Apparitions dress, Haute couture, spring/summer 2007, copyright P. Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier

The exhibition celebrates a 35-year span of Gaultier’s career (from 1976 to 2011), and is divided into six distinct galleries:

  • The Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier, which is an introduction to Gaultier using three of his favorite motifs: sailors, mermaids, and virgins.
  • The Boudoir, which explores Gaultier’s reinterpretation of corsets and lingerie for the modern woman’s wardrobe.
  • Skin Deep, which celebrates how skin (our first garment) and its various types of decoration have inspired Gaultier.  This section is also devoted to Gaultier’s take on male fashion, including his men’s skirts.
  • Punk Cancan, which reflects the influence of Paris and London on Gaultier’s designs.
  • Metropolis, which explores the worlds of technology and science fiction.  This section of the exhibition also includes Gaultier’s collaborations with artists in the fields of film and dance.
  • Urban Jungle, which demonstrates the influence of world cultures and peoples in the fashions of Jean Paul Gaultier.

Les Actrices collection, Barbarella body-corset, Haute couture, fall/winter 2009-2010, copyright P. Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier

Of course, Jean Paul Gaultier’s name is forever tied to Madonna, and the gold corset from her Blond Ambition tour has pride-of-place in the Boudoir gallery.  The labels in the exhibition reveal a “who’s who” of other celebrities who have worn the designs in the exhibition, including Kylie Minogue, Dita von Teese, Sarah Jessica Parker, Anthony Keidis and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Catherine Deneuve, and Beyoncé.  Several of the labels also list the number of hours required to make that particular garment.  For me, that is the most fascinating part of the exhibition.  I spend my weekends sewing, and I get annoyed if something takes me longer than a day or two to complete.  I can’t imagine spending 200+ hours working on one garment!  I guess that’s the distinction between haute couture and something home-sewn.

Les Indes galantes collection, Lascar dress, Haute couture, spring/summer 2000, copyright P. Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier

If you would like to experience The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, I encourage you to sign up for our full-day Art & Fashion Teacher Workshop on December 3rd.  I am co-leading the workshop and we’ll explore the exhibition, as well as other examples of fashion from the DMA’s collection.  There are still spaces available, and it’s guaranteed to be a fashion-filled day (bonus points if you arrive for the workshop wearing sailor stripes). If you’re not able to join us for the Teacher Workshop, keep an eye out for Jessica’s fashion-inspired Friday Photo Posts in the month of November.

Jean Paul Gaultier's love note to Dallas

The DMA’s Uncrated blog also has a behind-the-scenes peek at Gaultier’s time at the DMA last week, including photos and video.  Of course, I also encourage you to come check out the exhibition for yourself.  This is the DMA’s first-ever fashion exhibition, and it truly is phenomenal.  Don’t let these fashions walk off the catwalk on February 12th without seeing them in person.

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 15, 2011 5:54 pm

    I love that Gaultier signed that platform while he was here, it’s fun to look at on the way into the exhibition.

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