Opening today, the exhibition “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” is at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA). The first international exhibition devoted to the French couturier, MMFA will host until October 2nd.
Jean Paul Gaultier is a widely known French haute couture fashion designer. Launching his first line in 1976, Gaultier founded his own couture house in 1997. Never receiving formal training as a designer, Gaultier got his start as an assistant to Pierre Cardin after sending sketches to famous couture stylists.
” Very early, his avant-garde fashions reflected an understanding of a multicultural society's issues and preoccupations, shaking up – with invariable good humour – established societal and aesthetic codes,” said an official MMFA press release.
The exhibition features 140 ensembles and numerous documents and is innovative in its theatrical mise en scène and multimedia approach.
"I think the way people dress today is a form of artistic expression. Saint Laurent, for instance, has made great art. Art lies in the way the whole outfit is put together. Take Jean Paul Gaultier. What he does is really art," said Andy Warhol to Mondo Uomo in 1984.
The exhibition was developed and produced by the MMFA to mark the 35th anniversary of Gaultier’s label. The Maison Jean Paul Gaultier was provided for the exhibition with exclusive access to its archives.
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The exhibition embarks on an international tour with destinations such as the Dalas Museum of Art, The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the Fundación Mapfre – Instituto de Cultura in Madrid, and the Kunsthal Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
"I wanted to create an exhibition on Jean Paul Gaultier more than any other couturier because of his great humanity," explained Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. "Beyond the technical virtuosity resulting from exceptional expertise in the various skills involved in haute couture, an unbridled imagination and ground-breaking artistic collaborations, he offers an open-minded vision of society, a crazy, sensitive, funny, sassy world in which everyone can assert his or her own identity, a world without discrimination, a unique 'fusion couture.' Beneath Jean Paul Gaultier's