August in Paris - designer Jean Paul Gaultier
I was fortunate enough to catch the retrospective of designer Jean Paul Gaultier in Paris, at The Grand Palais, this summer. You know the phrase, "thinking out of the box"? This definitely doesn't apply to M. Gaultier because he simply has never realized that there is a box!
Dubbed the "infant terrible of fashion" by the press in the 70's, he has gone on to become one of the leading designers of the last few decades. It was a large retrospective with 175 mannequins showcasing clothing from his haute couture, stage costume and ready-to-wear collections. Many of the pieces had never been seen before.
The show started with his early works and he was the first designer to show case men in skirts, in the 80's, when such a thing was definitely not popular.
Ever the rule breaker, he has always been drawn to what the show called "unconventional" beauty, but what seems to me, is simply those of us who are not models. Tearing up the fashion rulebook, M. Gaultier's ideal is aimed at everyone, regardless of their body size, skin colour, age, gender or sexual orientation. He was the first to work with androgynous models, including Teri Toye, a transgender model in the 80"s.
M. Gaultier worked closely with Madonna and together they changed how we use underwear in modern design, especially the corset, which is now an acceptable outwear piece.
The show itself was a great curiosity. The mannequins appeared to be talking or singing because moving faces were projected on to some of them. See the two images below. One photo shows eyes closed, the other eyes open.
The part of the show entitled, "Skin Deep, showcased his collection that explored the concepts of gender, nudity and eroticism. Driven by his vast imagination and attachment to freedom, he transforms fabric into a second skin.
Every designer has to do a bridal collection and M. Gaultier's are always unique!
M. Gaultier, now in his 60's, is still designing.