Thursday, November 10, 2011

Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Catwalk to the Sidewalk

Today was an extraordinary day. I got to meet Jean Paul Gaultier and preview his exhibition, "Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Catwalk to the Sidewalk" which debuts to the public on November 13 at the Dallas Museum of Art.  The exhibit is remarkable. Witty, complex, engaging and full of life, it is one of the most spectacular exhibitions of art and fashion that I have ever encountered.

 Gaultier designs | Jean Paul Gaultier signs the podium leading into the exhibit at the DMA

I was going to write my own recap of the press conference, but Jenny Block from the Dallas Observer did such a bang up job, that I am just sharing snippets of her article:
"The mannequins are remarkable. The color of the skin and the shape of their faces. And projected on those faces is film of models and of Gaultier himself. They are talking and singng and blinking and making faces. It's remarkable. Truly remarkable. The designs fill several rooms each with a different title Boudior, Skin Deep, Punk Can Can, Meropolis, Urban Jungle. The first is nautical and under the sea, including a mermaid on crutches.
There is a runway where the "models" move around the oval platform. There are cases above with designs inside. There are drawings and photographs. There are boots made from feathers. There's a jacket with an alligator tail. And there's what looks to be a bride with an Indian headdress.

This was one of my favorite pieces. It's a skeleton corset. I have no idea where one would ever wear this - maybe for a haute couture Halloween ball in Paris - but the craftsmanship is SPECTACULAR.

Dallas's own fashion icon, Jan Strimple remarked, "Dallas is fashionably on fire! Having Jean Paul Gaultier in our city with his installation at the DMA is accelerating. It's a feast for the eyes and soul. It captures his provocative nature, his proclivity for inclusiveness, and makes the viewer... or shall I say the voyeur... think. Our city has much to be proud of from the generous underwriters, the task force leaders, and the perfectly executed planning from the Dallas Museum of Art."

This was my other favorite dress.  From 40 feet away, it just looks like a nice black dress. But get up close and you will see that those stripes, belt, cuffs and collar are actually comprised of hundreds of small pearlized buttons. Again, the amount of detail is just unbelievable.

Gaultier himself does not necessarily consider fashion art.  "I think my job is to make clothes. Clothes that have to be worn, that have to please. They have to sell. Art is art. It is free. The painter does it all himself. [The designs] are my babies but I also have all my team working together. My vision is the fruit that is happening all around."  I hate to disagree with Monsieur Gaultier...  but in my humble opinion, his clothes are most definitely works of art.  I would love to have one hanging in my house (more specifically, my closet!).

Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Catwalk to the Sidewalk opens November 13, 2011 and will run through February 12, 2012. Tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit the Dallas Museum of Art.

To read Jenny Block's article for the Dallas Observer in its entirety, click here.