Jean Paul Gaultier’s World of Fashion

Montreal just become even more stylish! Only 2 hours away from our nation’s capital resides every fashion and art-lovers dream exhibit.  Entitled, “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” the Montreal Museum of Fine Art (MMFA) is the first to showcase some of famed designer, Jean Paul Gaultier’s most famous (and infamous) designs. The one of a kind exhibition, is the first to solely cater to the French couturier’s many costumes and gowns and features a variety of his creations from various decades; including Madonna’s famous cone-breasted bra. The exhibit marks the designer brand’s 35th anniversary and Montreal is the first stop on its international rotation. The exhibition will continue on to the Dallas Museum of Art, but not until October 2nd when it will close its doors to Canadian visitors.

In collaboration with the Maison Jean Paul Gaultier,  the MMFA initiated, developed and produced this exploration of the designer’s creative world.  The Museum was provided with exclusive access to the fashion house’s archives and collections, which now visitors can walk through and enjoy. What would otherwise be reserved for only the fashion elite, this exhibit provides the public a glimpse into the amazingly creative fashion world of Jean Paul Gaultier.

As the museum’s curator, Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, explains:
I wanted to create an exhibition on Jean Paul Gaultier more than any other couturier because of his great humanity. Beyond the technical virtuosity resulting from exceptional expertise in the various skills involved in haute couture, an unbridled imagination and ground-breaking artistic collaborations, he offers an open-minded vision of society, a crazy, sensitive, funny, sassy world in which everyone can assert his or her own identity, a world without discrimination, a unique ‘fusion couture.’ Beneath Jean Paul Gaultier’s wit and irreverence lie a true generosity of spirit and a very powerful message for society. His humanist aesthetic touches me deeply.

Jean Paul Gaultier is famous for his outrageously creative designs and haute couture gowns. Born in 1952, France, he has served as the creative director for the luxury brand Hermes and has designed costumes for various Hollywood and French film productions, including the 1997 hit, Fifth Element. Interestingly enough, Gaultier never received any formal training as a designer. Rather, he began his career by sending out his sketches to famous couture stylists at an early age. So impressive were his ideas and talent that French designer, Pierre Cardin, hired him as an assistant in 1970, after seeing some of Gaultier’s work. His first self-titled collection was released in 1976 and since then he has been known as an enfant terrible in the French fashion circles. This is mostly due to his eclectic and outrageous designs but also for his irreverent fashion styles. Gaultier has cited street style, pop culture and the ‘everyday’ as the main inspiration behind  his collections and walking through the MMFA exhibit makes this quite obvious.

The designer’s notoriety and success is largely attributed to his use of unconventional models for his exhibitions and campaigns; such as older men and full-figured women, pierced and heavily tattooed models. However, Gaultier is also known for playing with traditional gender roles in his shows, which has earned him both criticism and enormous popularity. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gualtier, definitely exhibits the designer’s flare for the dramatic, his playfulness with fashion and not to mention his incredible talent and creativity. This show truly is a must-see for any fashion enthusiast or anyone who appreciates creativity and art!

Tickets for the exhibit range from $8 – $15 and include admission to the rest of the Museum’s exhibits. For more information about the show, see here.