GO! Jean Paul Gaultier at the De Young

We visited the much publicized exhibition of Jean Paul Gaultier’s works currently showing at the De Young Museum in San Francisco and words really escape us for how friggin’ wonderful this show really is. Even if you aren’t into fashion at all – this show is a must-see for it’s creativity and originality. One of the best shows we have seen in years – you will leave feeling giddy and inspired and longing to wear it all. Real artistry was behind the design of this show, the lay-out, grouping and progressive experience was just fantastic.
Filmed images were projected onto the mannequins faces – so that they moved, blinked, murmured stuff and sometimes looked right at you. Like holographic fashion ghosts, part model- part robot. It was eerie and beautiful – reminding one of Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Gaultier’s fashion designs are some of my favorites and his career has spanned the decades of our life and culture, reflecting and accenting it’s music, garishness, art and sexuality. 
The exhibit takes us through a time travel of those decades – using lighting, trends and music to unite the eras. It is all of these and more: a trip to the velvet underground of the avant garde, a gay disco from the 1970′s, a walk down punk infested London streets of the 1980′s, a corseted Madonna concert or a procession of Virgin Marys in a brocaded tableau. The garments are individual works of art – seeing the hand beading, the detail to design and the craftsmanship up close – plus the luscious velvets, laceworks and ostrich feathers – is a treat not to be missed. 
Jean Paul Gaultier’s sense of humor, sarcasm and kinky wit also comes through strong – example: a mermaid on crutches (below)And the incredible attention to every detail in the display and adornment is impeccable. The gauze and drapery is spread  gracefully and lovingly. Some of the model mannequins have velvety painted tattoos and there is even a section where they are standing on a mirrored floor- enabling a view up underneath the dresses and at the details on the bottom of dangerous shoes.
Some of the exhibits were encased and framed in alcoves, covered in lushly padded and quilted pink satin. Very cozy and comfortable to lean against as you viewed the enclosed scenes – moving garments floating and turning thru the black air, like a carnival of spirits.
There is also a representative sampling of original costume sketches, great photography and videos of his catwalks and fashion shows – and some very artsy videos of random imagery. And a runway show with the mannequins rotating around a loop. We’ve tried to include details of some of the fabrics and adornments and as many photos as we could. This is a huge show with way too much to visit here. Which means you have to get out to see this show! 
On exhibit thru Aug. 19, 2012, at the de Young in SF. 
Detail of skirt
Detail of toreador pant brocade
Beaded pants detail
The white stripes in this dress are all white buttons!
Video camera is mounted on top of the helmet.
The cheetah here is composed of a million hand sewn beads!
Bookmark the permalink.