Art & Design

Jean Paul Gaultier Comes to Melbourne

By Rebecca Elliott
5th Oct 2014

The infamous conical bras and corsets made for Madonna's 1990 Blond Ambition world tour are just the start of what you can expect to see at The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria from 17th October.

Curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot and organised by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with Maison Jean Paul Gaultier, Paris, the Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition celebrates one of the fashion world's most radical and ground-breaking couturiers through a collection of 140 of his creations.

'This is a unique opportunity to see up close haute couture,' says Loriot. 'Even if you are one of the happy few invited to a couture show, you never see the exquisite tailoring and craftsmanship in these pieces. Some of them, like a leopard 'skin' dress, is made with glass beads and took more than 1,600 hours to create.'

NGV's Gaultier exhibition tells the story of the French mastermind across seven thematic sections. Gaultier's very first design from 1971, which has never before been exhibited, will be on display in 'The Odyssey', alongside stage costumes worn by Queen B herself (Beyoncé, people).

Another section, 'Muses', will pay homage to the king of haute couture's association with Australian fashion, music and movie icons. Some of Kylie's Minogue's exquisite tour costumes will be on show, as well as the JPG dress worn by Nicole Kidman when she won her Oscar for The Hours.

'As a long-time fan and admirer of Jean Paul Gaultier and his work, it was a great thrill to collaborate with him for my tour costumes,' says Minogue. 'A visionary, his skill at creating drama and fantasy are second to none. On top of that, his kindness and humour shine through all that he does. A dear friend and an icon of design, long may he reign! I'm honoured to be part of this amazing exhibition and know visitors will leave elated and inspired.' 

Another major highlight of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier at NGV will be the 32 custom-made mannequins throughout the exhibition, which will be adorned in Gaultier's garments and elaborate headdresses. You may even recognise some of their faces and voices, with more than 12 celebrities, including Gaultier himself, lending themselves to this project.

So what was it like working with Gaultier to curate this exhibition?

According to Loriot: 'Fun, fun, fun! He has one great idea every minute. It is very inspiring to work with him.'

Melbourne will be the only destination in the Asia-Pacific to host the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition, which runs until 8 February, 2015.

For more information on The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, visit the NGV website

Main image credit: Shifting the Balance

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