Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Fashion World Of Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibition Book! OMG!

Well hello dear Paris '99ers!
As promised here is my post about my new favourite book 'The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier', published to accompany the exhibition from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition is currently travelling the world, and I am ecstatic to say that I will be lucky enough to see it in San Francisco when I visit the USA in June! Counting down already!

Well, if any of you have seen the book, you will know it is absolutely colossal. It certainly weighs close to 3kg and comes, as seen above and in my preview post, inside a striped plastic cover in the most classic of Gaultier patterns, the nautical stripe.

But lo, as I slid the book out from the cover everything changed!
Spoiler Alert!!

The cover is actually made up of two different images, a portait of Jean Paul's well known haircut, and as below, an image from the 'Virgins' Spring 2007 haute couture collection shot by Miles Aldridge. It as an absolutely off kilter, exciting and Gaultier moment with which to begin the journey of this fabulous book.

A piece of both spliced up images.

Right from the beginning the visuals are incredible. Iconic Gaultier images and new images which will surely become iconic come flying left, right and centre. Each aspect of Gaultier's own label career is examined, with interviews from him and from people around him at each point in time. Madonna, former assistant and icon himself Martin Margiela, Dita Von Teese, fashion historian Valerie Steele and a plethora of others have their say about the effect Gaultier has had on them and fashion in general.

Original corset from Madonna's 'Blonde Ambition' tour 1990. Of course there are numerous images of the tour in action, and sketches too!

Of course Gaultier is known for his highly collectible mesh pieces, and each season brings a new interpretation of the human anatomy. Different colours, different muscles, tendons and veins abound. Sometimes the print is negative, sometimes sinews are juxtaposed with a print of a garment, of buttons, of animals, its somewhat unsettling, macabre but always artful and beautiful. This is the print for the 2010-2011 collection.

I have always had a soft spot for this collection, ironically because it is featured in the film 'Unzipped', about a different designer altogether, New Yorker Isaac Mizrahi. I just love the dramatic scene where its found out that the Nanouk of the North, Eskimo inspiration was part of a Zeitgeist for Winter 1994. This collection is also featured in Robert Altman's classic, Pret-a-Porter, a fashion must see, and I would assume you have all seen it already! Here is Bjork on the runway, she was always into fashion, see :)

A stunning display of technique using feathers, this haute couture dress was also worn by Dana International when she won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998. Let us say it is no surprise Gaultier was supportive of the transsexual singer, and hello, the publicity of Eurovision. But there was controversy, as the dress was worn during the dress rehearsal but not in the actual performance. According to Israeli media it was considered too over the top. Luckily she did win, and wore the dress again when performing the song as the winner, such drama!

 Image taken from www.escireland.com

Gaultier's love of world culture is explored in the chapter 'Urban Jungle. His collections have taken us far far away, to China, Russia, Africa, North America and several times to India. This wedding dress above is the perfect representation of a well travelled 'Hussar' bride.

I love this shot of legendary fashion editor Polly Mellen in the ball skirt made from recycled denim. Funnily at this point, in 1985, Martin Margiela was working for Gaultier, and one of his most influential contributions to fashion were long reworked denim skirts. Interesting indeed ;).

I had never seen this photo, but of course it is by esteemed rock photographer Anton Corbijn for 'Details' magazine in 1993 when Nirvana were at the peak of their unfortunately short-lived career.

Another of Gaultier's most recognisable signatures, anything nautical goes! A selection of a highly recurring theme in his work. My favourite is the last dress in the second row, where the stripes gradate down to a torn chiffon explosion!

Just had to put this one in for its most stunning construction, the wedding dress from the aptly titled 'Cages' collection of 2008.

Kylie Minogue peers from underneath this lace number and appears regularly in the book. Gaultier designed the costumes for her most recent tour, and she has worn his clothes throughout her career.

Of course no one is more 'connected' to Gaultier than Madonna. He costumed both 'Blonde Ambition' and 'Confessions' tours and she has appeared in dress after stunning dress of his time and time again. Madonna's section in the book is the largest dedicated to a single person, and that says something. Of course no other public appearance is more revealing than that below, where the wardrobe malfunction was self created.

Dita Von Teese, a modern muse of Gaultier, has appeared in numerous runway shows and wears many of the designer's incredibly made corsets.

The same dress as shot on model Jade Parfitt from later in the chapter entitled 'The Boudoir' which as you might imagine focusses on Gaultier's passion for corsetry, lingerie and lace.

The first chapter is called Gaultier's Paris, and it clear why. Taking inspiration from the clubs, the cancan girls and the building themselves, Gaultier has dedicated entire collections to the city which has made an indelible mark on him.

An entire book could be devoted just to the ubiquitous Gaultier trench. A master of the garment, he reinterprets, recontextualises and rediscovers the trench in every collection. The way the trench is transformed from its rigid origins to this cascading drape on Charlotte Rampling is simply extraordinary.

The label attached to anything Gaultier Paris, the haute couture line. I am lucky enough to own a piece (or three) of Gaultier Paris, so do come on by, try them on and say that you too have worn couture!

What a fabulous way to finish off this post, the ultimate show of the man's love affair with his city!

Do yourselves a favour and go and buy this book, or at least come to the salon and we can perouse it together. Its 420 pages of all things Gaultier and I've shown you what, 20? And you know how much I enjoy the company :)
Enjoy and till next time!

1 comment:

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