Earlier this month, I attended the Jean Paul Gaultier fashion exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. In case some of you aren't familiar with Gaultier's work, he was the former Creative Director of Hermes and also worked for Pierre Cardin before eventually launching his own eponymous line. Haute couture aside, he designed the famous cone bra worn by Madonna and has also done costume work for major motion pictures (including The Fifth Element). The name Jean Paul Gaultier is synonymous with one of the most innovative haute couture houses in Paris.
I realize that high fashion is not everyone's cup of tea, but I find it artistically fascinating. I have long admired Gaultier's avant garde design aesthetic and his wildly theatrical runway productions.
I took photos of my favorite designs from the event and wanted to share them with you all here. Hope you find them as inspiring as I did... or at the very least, find them interesting!
Above: Left - Palm Leaf Jacket hat (made with real palm leaves inside), from his Buttons collection Spring/Summer 2003
Right - Sailor Striped "Lascar" Gown - made of silk and ostrich feathers, from his 2000 Romantic India Collection. Worn by the Princess of Monaco at the Rose Ball.
The designs above are two of my favorites. Black and white Parisian stripes never go out of style, and I love his haute couture twist on this classic pattern. I wish I could pull off something like this in real life!
[Click below see the rest of the photos and my thoughts on each after the jump...]
Above: Designs from his 2007 Virgins collection. Pieces from this collection have been worn by celebrities such as Marion Cotillard and Kylie Minogue.
You can definitely see the Catholic influences in the collection above. I wasn't a huge fan of his Communion-inspired dresses, but I did find the one on the right to be interesting.
Above: "Wedding gowns" from his 2008 Mermaid collection.
There's something slightly macabre yet eerily beautiful about all of his designs.
Above: Meet Nana, Jean Paul Gaultier's childhood teddy bear. At a tender young age, he sewed his first version of a "cone bra" onto Nana, which later led to his designing the famous cone bra worn by Madonna (below).
Above: The famous cone bra corset worn by Madonna during her Blonde Ambition tour ("Like a Virgin"). You can see his concept sketches for Madonna's costumes to the right.
Above: Gaultier also pushed the envelope when it came to men's fashion. I'm not really feeling the corset for men (especially the feathery rendition on the left), but hey, at least he's pushing the envelope!
Above: Gorgeous gown from the Spring/Summer 2002 Collection
I'd love to have a chance to wear this one.
Above: Here's an interesting trio of designs - we have the "skeleton," "arteries," and (not pictured) "muscles."
Above: Ethnic-inspired designs. Can you tell which country's traditional folk costumes inspired each design?
Above: Left - This "Garbage Bag Dress" design was one of my favorites. You may not have realized it, but the entire dress is made out of a garbage bag and is adorned with lids from tin cans, a dishwashing sponge, tea holder, and other "garbage" items.
Above: Right - A military inspired design. Love those boots!
Above: Left - Another one of my favorites! Right - Camouflage Dress worn by Sarah Jessica Parker at the MTV Music Video Awards
Above: Left - Gaultier also drew a lot of inspiration from science fiction. This one's not really my favorite, but you can't say the man isn't creative. Right - Dress made entirely out of photographic film,
Above: Costume designed by Gaultier for The Fifth Element
Above: The dress in the middle has a built-in hairdryer! Right - Scuba-inspired design, complete with high-heeled scuba shoes
I also love the fact that he believes in using non-conventionally pretty models and in redefining the idea of beauty.
Overall, it was a great night with lots of visual inspiration and great company. Following the exhibit, I bought a sketchpad and picked up some books on fashion design. I'm feeling inspired! We'll see how it goes. ;)
Afterward, I also got online and browsed his ready-to-wear pieces. While not as outlandishly fun at his couture designs, they're still interesting to look at (and infinitely more wearable).
Hope you enjoyed my photos from the exhibit, and thanks so much for visiting. Until next time!
Are you a fan of high fashion? Who are your favorite haute couture designers?