mercredi 17 novembre 2010

Jean Paul Gaultier: Beauty and the bad Boy

Jean Paul Gaultier: Beauty and the bad boy


French designer who has always defied convention gets a retrospective in Montreal

Jovial and good-humoured, Jean Paul Gaultier sailed into Montreal  last week to work on the upcoming exhibition of his works at the  Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
He was not in his typical striped mariner T-shirt -which is having  a thunderous fashion encore at the moment -but in white collar and  cuffs beneath a dark crewneck sweater and trousers.
The exhibition, opening next June, is the first major retrospective  of his 35 years in the art of provocation through fashion.
Gaultier has challenged conventional norms of beauty throughout his  career. Corpulent Beth Ditto of the indie rock band Gossip opened  and closed his last pret-a-porter show. Earlier, when it was still  quite unfashionable and not politically correct, he used plush  models Sophie Dahl and Crystal Renn.
He has put men in skirts and women with cigars in trousers. He has  interpreted ethnic dress -Inuit, Japanese, Mexican, Bedouin, African  and quite controversially, Hasidic Jews. He has fetishized  piercings, tattoos and lingerie.
Most famously, his projectile bra for Madonna on her 1990 Blond  Ambition is a true cultural icon.
"I always wanted to show the feminine part of men, the masculine  side of women."
"You can perceive beauty everywhere,'' Gaultier said at a session  with journalists at the museum.
"I find there is not just one kind of beauty,'' he said on Tout le  monde en parle, the must-see Radio-Canada talk show. "You have to  feel right in your skin."
It is that tolerant, non-discriminatory vision of beauty that is  the icing on the cake to Nathalie Bondil, the museum director who  has championed fashion as art to be exhibited.
Bondil, who brought the Yves Saint Laurent show to Montreal in  2008, emphasized her belief in the place of haute couture in the  museum as a way to allow the public to understand its discipline,  virtuosity and craft.
She praised his tolerant vision of beauty.
"If there is one couturier who says something pertinent, who says  something just and who has a vision of society in which we live, or  want to live, it is really him,'' Bondil said.
"Jean Paul Gaultier is awaited here like the pope, but people say  better than the pope.''
There was much more laughing and joking as curator Thierry-Maxime  Loriot and Gaultier outlined the five themes of the exhibition  -Paris, Fusions, Multi-Gender, Euro-Trash/X-rated and Metropolis  -which will feature 120 ensembles, mainly from the haute couture,  with accompanying sketches and excerpts from films, runway shows,  concerts and more, designed with Quebec theatre director Denis  Marleau.
Gaultier regaled the crowd with tales of how his teddy bear Nana  was the prototype for his cone bras, worn not only by Madonna, but  by photographer Cindy Sherman and various models.
Nana, which he professes to still have, has little patches high on  its chest. "It's a monster,'' Gaultier likes to say.
It was a marvellous collaboration, he said of his work with  Madonna: he also dressed her for her Confessions and Drowned World  tours.
She would tell him, "You are the only one who never broke my  heart,'' Gaultier recalled.
On the corset, which he has reinvented over the years, including on  burlesque artist Dita Von Teese in his haute couture show in July,  he said: "The corset can rectify the body.''
Gaultier has visited Montreal often over the years, and two of his  model muses, Eve Salvail and Francisco Randez, are from this city.  He said he was surprised and flattered to be invited to have a  retrospective here, noting that Britain and North America both  embraced him early,
"In France, we are educated (to believe) Canadians are our little  cousins,'' he said.
"We all realize that you are not as snobbish. It's like New York,  but it's not New York.
"It's a nice mirror of ourselves.''
Asked about his unflinching good humour, Gaultier replied that he  is living his childhood dream, and has never given up his teddy  bear.
He has no complaints.
"Of course, in life I had some bad moments. But I realized my  dreams,'' he said chuckling constantly.
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the  Catwalk, runs June 17 to Oct. 2, 2011. It then travels to Dallas, San Francisco and Europe. For more on Jean Paul Gaultier, click here for his official site.

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