A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to visit The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to the Catwalk at the Brooklyn Museum. It was definitely an eye opening experience, and one of the most interesting exhibits I’ve ever thoroughly explored. And it hit close to heart, as well. Gaultier was more than just an iconic fashion designer, he was a revolutionary and stood for what he believed in since the beginning of his career. And he did it with his creativity and passion to push boundaries in tact the entire way through. I wasn’t too familiar with his design work, even though I of course knew his name and the fame behind it. After seeing this exhibit I was almost punching myself in the face at the fact that I haven’t learned more about this man before this. Well, better late than never right? It was amazing to watch the evolution of his design work from the prestigious haute couture collections he presented to the modern day punk-inspired tartan gowns that made the 80s stand out from anything that has ever been done before. No two designs were ever alike. No idea was ever impossible. No lines were never meant to be crossed or explored or manipulated. The classification of what was female and what was male was blurred. Every man could be who he wanted. Every woman could be who she wanted. I left the exhibit with my mind refreshed and my heart reminded why I love this industry so much, despite its many downfalls. It’s tastemakers and minds like Gaultier’s that once again leave us with the reason why we adorn ourselves with such frivolities to express even our most inner most emotions and imaginations. It’s because we can.
One quote from the exhibit really that really stood out to me:
“I like difference. Perfection is relative and beauty is subjective. I wanted to make imperfection admirable. That shows in my choice of models, among other things. Sometimes a different energy and bearing, or an unusual type of body, catches my eye and makes me want to invent something.”
– Jean Paul Gaultier
It made me happy to learn to that Gaultier embraced the idea of imperfection being something we should cherish and love, rather than banish and hate. He chose all his models for his shows and campaigns himself, based not on how mainstream they were, but for their personalities, individualities and imperfections that made them stand out from the pact. He chose people who wore his clothes just as much as the clothes wore them. The person and the clothing, too ingredients that cannot live without the other, injected with life because of one another. It’s a beautiful way to look at fashion.
If you haven’t had the chance to see the exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, you still have a chance! It’s running until February 23, 2014! I almost have an itch to go back again, it was that phenomenal.