Get yourselves down to de Young and see the Gaultier exhibit. In fact, if you’re not already, go ahead and become a member so you can more economically take in the exhibit, again and again. Yes, “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” is worth multiple visits. Really
There are a few enfant terribles in fashion, but Monsieur Gautlier is certainly one of the favorite sons of that brand of fashion, and for good reason. Not only did he question the rules of fashion and the gender roles it feeds, he pressed past that arbitrary envelope with an exceptionally deft hand. His skills in draping, and construction are dazzling, and you will want to return again and again to check out details that keep rattling around in your head. The show at de Young includes items from his films, Madonna’s cone-bra corsets, as well as his collections. Yes, you get to stare directly into Ruby Rod’s enormous phallic pompadour, and while you are at it, get a good close look at some of the deft seam work that coaxed that leopard print fur into such a beautifully-fitting article of clothing.
It’s the details that are lost in photos are the real draw here. Each garment is a college level course in handling fabric as well as the use of unconventional materials to create masterpieces. The dress that was made out of actual lengths of film, with those same lengths printed on silk and used as trim comes to mind as an example. It’s truly meant to be seen up close—perhaps on a red carpet, or very posh charity event. You can’t see what it’s about, any other way.
Go. Now. Take a look up close and find the quick-change zipper in a famous singer’s outfit. Stare at the mannequins as they speak to you, and listen to what they have to say. Look at the layout for the leg print on the can-can dress that’s over on the moving runway. Study the seam work, and cut of any piece in there, and you will become a better sewer and pattern maker. The Gaultier pieces are more than just beautiful work backing up an artist’s point of view, they are absolutely brilliantly made. Go now.
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
March 24, 2012 - August 19, 2012