In news that will no doubt cause a Louboutin-clad stampede amongst fashionistas, Jean Paul Gaultier has announced he will travel to Australia to open the retrospective exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk at the National Gallery of Victoria. Known as the ‘enfant terrible’ of French fashion, the exhibition celebrates Gaultier’s unconventional and irreverent designs, showcasing over 140 of his superbly crafted and detailed garments.
One of the most talked about young designers of the early ‘80s, Gaultier has achieved success under his own name and also as designer for Hermes from 2004-2011. Despite having no formal training in design, Gaultier was hired by Pierre Cardin in 1970 when he was just 18. Releasing his first individual collection in 1976, Gaultier became known for his streetwear and pop culture inspired pieces. Some of his most iconic creations include the man skirt and of course, THAT cone bra created for Madonna on her 1990 Blonde Ambition tour.
The NGV will be the only Asia-pacific venue to host the exhibition dedicated to the designer, in a major coup for Melbourne. Interestingly though, Gaultier has more connections to the sunburnt country than you might think.
“Preparing this exhibition I have realized how strong my ties to Australia are – Nicole Kidman was my first couture client; I have dressed Cate Blanchett on numerous occasions; Kylie is a dear friend and I have also had the pleasure of working closely with her on her tours,” Gaultier said.
“I have also been working for many years with models Gemma Ward, Catherine McNeil, Jarrod Scott, and the list goes on.”
More than a million visitors have already flocked to see the exhibition on its worldwide tour of cities that include Montreal, New York and London. However Australian visitors will be treated to exclusive material that will appear in the exhibition for the first time, including pieces from his recent haute couture and ready-to-wear collections, as well as stage costumes worn by Australian actresses Nicole Kidman at the Oscars and Cate Blanchett at the Golden Globes. From Sidewalk to Catwalk is organized into seven thematic sections: The Odyssey, The Boudoir, Muses, Punk Cacan, Skin Deep, Metropolis and Urban Jungle.
But the highly anticipated exhibition goes beyond just displaying the clothes- although they’re certainly strong enough to hold their own – instead immersing visitors in the world of Jean Paul Gaultier, a world that extends beyond the catwalk into the realms of art, music and film. 32 custom mannequins will utilize high definition audio-visual projections that will bring the custom mannequins to life, with different skin tones and the face and voices of the celebrities who wore them. Accessories, sketches, stage costumes and excerpts and footage from films, runways shows, concerts and dance performances will also help illustrate the exhibition, alongside Gaultier’s rich collaborations with renowned contemporary artists and photographers including Andy Warhol, Richard Avendon and Mario Testino.
A fitting tribute to a true fashion visionary and influential rule breaker, From Sidewalk to Catwalk is an event not to be missed. Gaultier, Australia is ready for you.
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
17 October 2014 – 8 February 2015
180 St Kilda Road
Tickets on sale now from ngv.vic.gov.au