Undoubtedly one of the most fabulous events to happen this year, the first major exhibition solely devoted to Jean Paul Gaultier, the celebrated French couturier, held at the Barbican. This dynamic installation of more than 140 cutting-edge couture and ready-to-wear garments explores Gaultier's fashion world, from his witty and boundary-pushing designs to his ceaseless interest in society, identity and a beauty borne of difference.
The exhibition includes costumes for film and performance including iconic pieces such as the conical bra and corsets Madonna wore during her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour, stage costumes designed for Kylie Minogue as well as pieces created for the films of Pedro Almodóvar and Luc Besson's The Fifth Element.
The exhibition also features a wealth of photography by collaborators such as Miles Aldridge, Richard Avedáon, David LaChapelle, Pierre et Gilles, Herb Ritts, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol, as well as footage of catwalk presentations, concerts, music videos, films, dance performances and Gaultier's cult television show, Eurotrash.
Jean Paul Gaultier says: “I am super excited that the show is coming to London for two reasons. The first reason is that I always want to go to London, because London, for me, is a special place. In England I’ve got so many souvenirs and I’ve had so many experiences and I must say that the English were the first ones to come to my shows and appreciate my fashion. If there is one place other than Paris that I should like to live in, it is London. I’ve got so many connections with London and feel at home there, even sometimes more than Paris. I like the spirit, the humour and little adventures that were funny, like Eurotrash. The second thing is the Barbican. It's an honour for me because it's a wonderful gallery and a wonderful place with extraordinary architecture and I think that showing my work there will be beautiful.”
Designed as an installation rather than a conventional fashion retrospective, this theatrically staged exhibition presents pieces created between the early 1970s and now, many of which are being shown in Britain for the first time. Keenly interested in all the world's cultures and countercultures, Gaultier has conceived a new kind of fashion in both the way it is made and worn. Through twists, transformations, transgressions and reinterpretations, he not only erases the boundaries between cultures but also the sexes, redefining the idea of androgyny or playing with subverting hyper-sexualized fashion codes. This exhibition was initiated and produced by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts [MMFA], under the direction of Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator and Thierry-Maxime Loriot, Curator at the MMFA in collaboration with Maison Jean Paul Gaultier – Paris.
Discover the Barbican's exhibition-specific app - Gaultier: His Fashion World – packed with lots of exclusive content and interviews with Gaultier, his collaborators and muses and the curators plus some great photography and a video too.
View the Barbican's Vimeo films on the exhibition - Introducing Gaultier: His Fashion World and In Conversation: Jean Paul Gaultier with Thierry-Maxime Loriot
View the Barbican's YouTube films on the exhibition
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk [April 2014 - August 2014] at the Barbican Art Gallery, Silk Street, London EC2Y; barbican.org.uk