CREATIVE ET CETERA: Jean Paul Gaultier

by Jamie on January 3, 2015

A campaign image for Jean Paul Gaultier from the early 2000s A campaign image for Jean Paul Gaultier from the early 2000s

 

I recently visited the National Gallery of Victoria to see ‘From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk’, an exhibition showcasing French couturier Jean Paul Gaultier.

Gaultier was de regeur when I was at college. He was perhaps at that time most famous for his ‘Conical-bra bustier’, as worn by Madonna on her Blonde Ambition tour of 1991… Yes, it really was that long ago!

I was keen to see his exhibition at the NGV, which was a collection of his works from the past 30 years including over 140 beautifully crafted garments. I left the exhibition totally inspired by the Parisian designer and his immense creative talent.

Jean-Paul-Gaultier-Installation-Vogue-8Apr14-Getty_b_1440x960 Jean Paul Gaultier with a couple of his creations in ‘From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk’ Image Source

 

It is one thing to view Gaultier’s designs though magazines and the media, but quite another to experience his creations up close and personal. The garments on show were a visual feast – and for those interested in couture garment construction, an amazing insight into the bespoke nature of his work. I was blown away by the details and tried very hard to imagine how the garments were put together to create such beautiful effects.

Up close and personal - amazing couturier techniques displayed at the Gaultier exhibition. Up close and personal – amazing couturier techniques displayed at the Gaultier exhibition in Melbourne.

 

Pieces of embroidered skirt laced together with coloured string through carefully placed eyelets. Pieces of embroidered skirt laced together with coloured string through carefully placed eyelets at the Gaultier exhibition in Melbourne.

 

What struck me most was the prolific nature of his creativity and his ability time and time again to create completely unique proportions. Gaultier seems to disregard the design ethos of the day. He initiates trends rather than follows them and for that I’d regard him one of the most innovative fashion designers of our time.

Expert draping and artistry at the Gaultier exhibition in Melbourne. Expert draping and artistry shown at the Gaultier exhibition in Melbourne.

 

It seems cliché to say brave – but Gultier’s approach to his craft was and still is brave. While his work tends to challenge mainstream taste, he pushes boundaries and presents beauty in unconventional ways. Older models as well as full-figured models are used in his shows, men in skirts and cross-gender models are often featured and exaggerated forms and proportions all question the status quo and ensure our view of beauty is continually expanded.

Jean Paul Gaultier AW 2014-15 Jean Paul Gaultier AW 2014-15 Image source

 

Perhaps not surprisingly Gaultier was not formally trained in fashion and maybe this was in his favour – as education in such traditional fields can often be bound in rigid doctrine. Yet despite a lack of formal training Gaultier was quickly hired by Pierre Cardin after sending sketches to Cardin and several other Paris designers in search of his first job in the fashion industry.

What I find so inspirational about Gaultier is his infinite ability to create. It is clear that he finds inspiration in the world around him but his ideas are processed through his own filter and manifest as purely original creations.

 

Cone-bra design, typical of the notorious designs of Gaultier in the late 80's early 90's Cone-bra dress, typical of the notorious designs of Gaultier in the late 80’s early 90’s image source

 

As crafters and creatives  I’d like to think we can all tap into the creative source that is uniquely our own. Sometimes this is not so easy, as we can be held back by our insecurities and preconceived notions. Gaultier, through his work shows us it is possible to throw aside our inhibitions and just go for it. Why not experiment with different colour combinations, mix those prints together or combine different fabrics  to create something quite new? Just like Jean Paul Gaultier, that creative journey may just lead to creative brilliance!

If you are in Melbourne, be sure to go see ‘From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk‘ before it closes early February 2015.

Sew, Wear, Love

Jamie-Sig

 

 

 

 

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Janene Trickey January 4, 2015 at 12:00 am

I was there yesterday and was incredibly impressed with this exhibition. Seeing so many of his works in one place makes clear his influence on all fashion of the past few decades. Without his imagination, creativity and bravery I’m sure fashion would be far less interesting today.

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