Monday, May 11, 2015

Gaultier, the Exhibition

Gaultier poster by Pierre et Gilles

After showcasing the works of France's "bad boy" of fashion in nine other cities around the world, the much anticipated "Gaultier" exhibition has finally arrived in Paris. For this tenth edition, installations were specifically designed for its newest venue, Le Grand Palais, and clips from French cinema and early French TV personal to the designer were added. Moreover, about a third of the garments were replaced with others from his most recent couture collections all in an effort to keep the show fresh and relevant.

While the clothes on display are wild and wonderful with splendidly decadent construction and detail, the staging of this even is equally spellbinding and creative. Gaultier's outrageous, over-the-top story is told through a display of 175 haute couture and ready-to-wear ensembles as well as accessories, photos, drawings and video clips from his catwalk shows, collaborations with filmmakers, dancers, pop stars and concerts.

All in all there are 336 items to completely thrust visitors into a mesmerizing world of France's pop culture couture king. But what really sets this exhibition apart is the staging, complete with interactive, talking, singing, eye-rolling, flirtatious mannequins.

Thanks to Denis Marleau and Stephanie Jasmin of UBU/Compagnie de Creation from Montreal, the mannequins were brought to life with super realistic animated faces projected onto the heads. A dozen celebrities, including Gaultier himself, lent their image and sometimes their voices to be projected onto the faces of the mannequins. In fact, the designer's chatty clone stands amongst others, welcoming visitors and sharing his vision of fashion.

As you move about the exhibition, they roll their eyes, yawn and even make comments to each other. At times, they catch a glance of you and toss out a comment. The experience is so surreal, it will have you winking or answering back!

It is, by far, the most innovative fashion exhibition ever to be staged. This explains why the designer, who for years was reluctant to participate in any retrospective of his work, succumbed to this project first initiated, by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Canada.

Jean Paul Gaultier remains one of the most prolific fashion designers of modern times. As a child, he was inspired by his grandmother's beauty salon, films, show girl costumes and the Paris Haute Couture as seen throughout the glossy pages of fashion magazines.

On his 18th birthday, he landed a job as assitant for Pierre Cardin. However, London's "Mod" movement eclipsed Paris and a fascinated Gaultier found himself enthralled by the social and cultural revolution taking place throughout Europe.

At the encouragement of his life partner, Francis Menuge in 1976, Galtier dared to launch his own label.

He produced eclectic catwalk shows using a cast of circus-like characters which immediately addressed the concerns of an ever changing multicultural society, while shaking up established, sociological and aesthetic codes.

He mixed cultures and genders, creating a new androgynous figure or humorously delighting in inverting the codes of super sexualized fashion.

"Gaultier," the exhibition, celebrates the designer's unbridled inventiveness as well as his limitless sources of inspiration. The dizzying kaleidoscope of patterns, beads, embroidery and intricate construction here, defines Gaultier as the master couturier that he has become over the years.

If you have the opportunity of going to Paris before the closing date (August 3), this is a rich, must-see exhibition that really shows Paris high fashion at its best within the modern context of art.

For additional information or ticket reservations, go to

All other photographs were taken by Fashion Doll Stylist at the Grand Palais in Paris (with my iPhone!!!)

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  1. WONDERFUL! I'd love to see this, it must have been an incredible experience, thanks for sharing April!

    1. Thank you, Billa. This expo is INCREDIBLE! I saw it in San Francisco and was excited when I learned it was coming to Paris. It's real haute couture...impossible to copy into doll clothes. So I had to take my inspiration from one of his signature (simpler) ready to wear outfits. I might even go back to see this one more time, it was just that wonderful!

  2. Ohh wow! That looks so amazing! Thank you for all the photos. <3

    1. Uraru, It was AWESOME!!! When an exhibition is this good, I don't mind sharing such a rare and wonderful experience with the world.

  3. Hello from Spain: fabulous exhibition. I really like the sailor stripes of Gaultier. Barbie is perfect and trendy. Nice pics. We keep in touch

    1. Thank you, Marta. The exhibition was superb! I think Yvette (my model here) wears her Dolly Gaultier really well. Glad you enjoyed. See you soon. Greetings from Paris.

  4. Cool photos as usual. I especially love how you've restyled your Taylor Jones (?) doll. She looks stunning!

    1. Thank you, D7ana. This exhibition was too much fun. If it weren't for the mobs of people at the door, I'd go back & see it one more time. My model, Yvette, is a FR "Isha-Very Cool" doll (2005). The previous owner cut her hair which was formally long & styled in a chignon high on her head. That hairstyle & a more modern dress really brings out the beauty of her face. I love this doll!

  5. Thanks for identifying your doll model, April. She is lovely. I love how you've done her hair and that outfit. Stunning!


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