From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

Who: Jean Paul Gauliter
What: 'From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk' Exhibition
Where: Paris
When: July 2015
Why: Why not! 

Paris is always a good idea and being on the other side of the globe I couldn’t think if anywhere more magical to escape and view a glimpse of the action and creation behind the scene of Gaultier’s fashion world. This iconic travel destination led my travelling partner and I to a vivid space; entering the life of Jean Paul Gaultier and providing us with an opportunity to explore some of the most intricate and intriguing displays of all time.   

This exhibition which took place in 2015 was organised by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with Maison Jean Paul Gaultier located at the Grand Palais. Paris was the tenth stop displaying the contents inside the mind of Jean Paul Gaultier and the Grand Palais certainly isn’t an unfamiliar place for either of the two…being not only the location for this ingenious designer’s first fashion show back in October 1976 but also the first exhibition Grand Palais had ever devoted to a fashion designer!

Every element of the showcase was carefully thought out by numerous talent that joined forces to create an unknown world displaying unknown pieces. From the likes of Denis Marleau and Stephanie Jasmin (Montreal theatre company) who used innovative technology to animate the fifty custom-designed mannequins and Odile Gilbert who designed ten realistic hairstyles for them to various fashion photographers and artists who provided the Paris Show with exclusive access to previously unpublished prints.

This was a showcase like no other revolving around seven themes reflecting a timeline of Gaultier’s life, featuring items from his personal history including: childhood teddy bear, snapshots of the designer’s childhood and early muses to sketches, archives, stage costumes, film footage, fashion shows and concerts. And it doesn’t stop there – displaying over one hundred and seventy-five ensembles including a repurposed bustier from his debut collection, the iconic breast-baring jumpsuit Madonna wore in 1992 and costumes designed for the beloved Kylie Minogue, Dita Von Teese and numerous other performers; the astonishing haute couture pieces’ date from 1970 to 2013.Unfortunately, this international exhibition has now come to an end but what an imaginative way to explore and convey how his designs challenge society, gender and aesthetic trends