Jean Paul Gaultier from Montreal to Melbourne

NGV_The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier_From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk_photo by Brooke HolmThe first exhibition dedicated to the varied work of Jean Paul Gaultier, at times equally intricate, delicate, outspoken and revolutionary, developed by the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, has opened at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Conceived by curator Thierry-Maxime Loroit, who has worked closely with Maison Jean Paul Gaultier, Paris, Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Tony Ellwood and the National Gallery of Victoria, and with the Jean Paul himself, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is presented with the same idiosyncratic personality and style associated with the art of Jean Paul Gaultier.

Loroit declares that there is an evolution in every city in which the exhibition is presented. As the only venue in the Asia-Pacific to present The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, there are very Melbourne centric elements alongside the presentation of Australian influences and muses on Gaultier’s work.

Beautiful monochromatic portraits, fitting the exhibition’s blue and white stripe design, by Rone from the Everfresh crew litter the hallways between exhibition rooms, a separate Romance Was Born commission Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids which invites children and families to explore their own creativity, and photography featuring Australian icons such as Nicole Kidman, Kate Blanchett, and Andreja Pejic show us just how closely linked Australia and a French haute couturier can be.

The exhibition features an expansive display of the prêt-à-porter and haute couture designs by Jean Paul Gaultier. Presented thematically, the exhibition delves away from the chronological stance of a retrospective and instead is a celebration of the creativity and vast resourcefulness of Gaultier’s art, also exploring his career in cinema costume design, the release of his own music single as well as designs for musicians, including the infamous Madonna cone bra bodice, and his role as an avant-garde designer pioneering the erasure of body conformity in the fashion industry.

Gaultier’s global influence in design resonates in the caliber of the collaborative works included in the exhibition, featuring David LaChapelle, Pierre et Gilles, Peter Lingbergh, Kate Moss, Kurt Cobain, Dita Von Teese and even Marge Simpson. The exhibition discloses through these collaborations, the artist’s sketches, and variety of endeavours how Gaultier is able to explore his true artistic sensibilities in both high fashion and other mediums.

What is most surprising as you walk through the exhibition are the mannequins, pioneered by Jolicoeur International. Notable that they vary in skin tones, sizes and proportions, what is astonishing is the projection technology used to animate the mannequins, giving them moving facial features and some voices. In conjunction with the elaborate exhibition design, including a boudoir style room with low lighting and textured displays, and a graffitied punk style space complete with moving runway, the exhibition introduces an exciting format for textile and fashion exhibitions.

Unique to the presentation of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk in Australia is the publication by the National Gallery of Victoria, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Catwalk to Australia, which exclusively explores Gaultier’s relationships with his variety of Australian collaborators and influences.

The NGV Design Store also embraces the Parisian blue and white striped theme, offering Jean Paul Gaultier phone cases, umbrellas and T-Shirts along with reruns of accessories from his prêt-à-porter collections including bags and jewelry, in addition to the more typical exhibition companions such as the exhibition book, edited by Loriot.

An innovation in the presentation of clothing and textiles, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is a magnificent monolith to an iconic designer, and artist in his own right.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Exhibition continues to 8 February 2015
Entry fees apply

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, exhibition view, National Gallery of Victoria, 2014 – photo by Brooke Holm

Review: Jasmin Bardel