French Cancan collection, Women’s prêt-à-porter, fall/winter 1991-1992, © Patrice Stable/ Jean Paul Gaultier.

Têtes moulées pour mannequins de l'exposition Jean Paul Gaultier. Avant-plan : Jean Paul Gaultier, Arrière-plan : Francisco Randez, Photo : MBAM Christine Guest.

Jean Paul Gaultier, Shaking up the Fashion Design Canon

Paolo Roversi, Tanel Bedrossiantz portant une robe de la collection Barbès, automne-hiver 1984-1985, Collection particulière, © Paolo Roversi.

Jean Paul Gaultier, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, © Jean-Baptiste Mondino.

Collection Les Cages, robe Calligraphie, Haute couture automne-hiver 2008-2009, © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Barbès collection, Women’s prêt-à-porter fall/winter 1984-1985, © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Les Hussardes [Hussars] collection, Incognito ensemble, Haute couture fall/winter 2002-2003, © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Hommage à l'Afrique [Tribute to Africa] collection, La Mariée dress, Haute couture spring/summer 2005, © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Collection Les Vierges, ensemble Laudes, Haute couture printemps-été 2007, © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Les Vierges [Virgins] collection, Immaculata dress, Haute couture spring/summer 2007, © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Les Actrices [Movie Stars] collection, Barbarella body-corset, Haute couture fall/winter 2009-2010, © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Les Indes galantes [Romantic India] collection, Lascar dress, Haute couture spring/summer 2000, © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.


Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
1380 Sherbrooke Ouest
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier:
From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

June 17-October 2, 2011

Jean Paul Gaultier is indisputably one of the most important fashion designers of recent decades. 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. Initiated, developed, produced, and circulated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to mark the 35th anniversary of the designer’s own label, this exploration of Jean Paul Gaultier’s creative world has been organized in collaboration with the Maison Jean Paul Gaultier. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is the first exhibition devoted to the celebrated French couturier who launched his first prêt-à-porter collection in 1976 and founded his own couture house in 1997. Dubbed fashion’s enfant terrible by the press from the time of his first runway shows in the 1970s.

“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 wit and irreverence lie a true generosity of spirit and a very powerful message for society. His humanist aesthetic touches me deeply.”

The exhibition — which the couturier considers to be not only a retrospective but a creation in its own right — features approximately 120 ensembles, mainly from the designer’s couture collections, but also from his prêt-à-porter line, along with their accessories. Created between 1976 and 2010, for the most part these pieces have never been exhibited. Many other exhibits are also being presented for the first time. Sketches, stage costumes, excerpts from films, runway shows, concerts, videos, dance performances and even television programmes will illustrate the artistic collaborations that have characterized Gaultier’s world: in film (Pedro Almodóvar, Peter Greenaway, Luc Besson, Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet) and contemporary dance (Angelin Preljocaj, Régine Chopinot and Maurice Béjart), not to mention the world of popular music, in France (Yvette Horner and Mylène Farmer…) and on the international scene (Madonna and Kylie Minogue…). Fashion photography will also be a major focus of attention, thanks to loans of, in many cases, never-before-seen prints from renowned photographers and contemporary artists (Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Erwin Wurm, David LaChapelle, Richard Avedon, Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, Steven Klein, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Pierre et Gilles, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Paolo Roversi and Robert Doisneau…).

Keenly interested in all the world’s cultures and countercultures, Gaultier has picked up on the current trends and proclaimed the right to be different, and in the process conceived a new kind of fashion in both the way it is made and worn. Through twists, transformations, transgressions and reinterpretations, he not only erases the boundaries between cultures but also the sexes, creating a new androgyny or playing with subverting hypersexualized fashion codes.

Celebrating the daring inventiveness of his cutting-edge designs, as well as exploring the audaciously eclectic sources of his ideas, the exhibition will be organized along six different thematic sections tracing the influences, from the streets of Paris to the world of science fiction, that have marked the couturier’s creative development: •The Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier•; •The Boudoir•; •Skin Deep•; •Eurostar•; •Urban Jungle•; and •Metropolis•.

Under the leadership of Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the exhibition •Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk• is curated by the MMFA’s Thierry-Maxime Loriot.

Conceived by Projectiles, a Paris-based architecture firm, the sophisticated exhibition design will showcase the couturier’s designs, as well as prints and video clips that illustrate Gaultier’s many fruitful artistic collaborations. Thirty mannequins with animated faces provided by ingenious audiovisual projections will be placed throughout the galleries, surprising visitors with their lifelike presence. The design and staging of this poetic and playful audiovisual creation has been entrusted to Denis Marleau and Stéphanie Jasmin of the Montreal theatre company UBU. Several celebrities, including Jean Paul Gaultier, models Ève Salvail and Francisco Randez, singer and filmmaker Melissa Auf der Maur, soprano Suzie Leblanc, and TV host Virginie Coosa, have agreed to lend their faces — and sometimes even their voices — to this unique project, which is being presented in a museum for the first time.

Following its presentation in Montreal, the exhibition travels to the Dallas Museum of Art (November 9, 2011-February 12, 2012) and then to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young (March 24-August 12, 2012).

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will publish a major monograph on the occasion of this exhibition in collaboration with Abrams for the English edition and the Éditions de La Martinière for the French edition. Produced under the general editorship of Thierry-Maxime Loriot, this magnificent volume (424 pages and over 500 illustrations) will include many interviews with Gaultier’s mentors, muses and colleagues, as well as the artists he has worked with: Pedro Almodóvar, Catherine Deneuve, Madonna, Helen Mirren, Martin Margiela, Pierre Cardin, Dita Von Teese, Marion Cotillard, Kylie Minogue, Polly Mellen and Tom Ford, to name just a few. It will feature many previously unpublished illustrations from renowned fashion photographers and the Maison Gaultier archives. An essay written by Suzy Menkes, journalist at The New York Times and fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune, will look at Jean Paul Gaultier’s fashion shows and examine their visionary reflection of society’s evolution over the past 35 years. The work will include two interviews with the designer himself, in addition to an interview with Valerie Steele, fashion historian and director of New York’s The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), as well as a timeline of Gaultier’s career and a complete bibliography. The catalogue’s graphic design has been entrusted to the Montreal agency Paprika.

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Eau de toilette.

Le Male de Jean Paul Gaultier Eau de toilette (dans sa boite de conserve).

Pierre et Gilles, La Vierge aux serpents (Kylie Minogue), 2008, Photographie peinte, encadrée par les artistes, © Pierre et Gilles. Courtesy Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris.

Les Surréalistes [The Surrealists] collection, Hécate coatdress, Haute couture fall/winter 2006-2007, © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Divine Jacqueline collection, L'écume des jours dress, Haute couture spring/summer 1999, © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Collection Les Indes galantes, robe Durbar, Haute couture printemps-été 2000, © P. Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Collection L'Homme-objet, Prêt-à-porter Homme printemps-été 1984, © P. Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Les Vierges [Virgins] collection, Apparitions dress, Haute couture spring/summer 2007, © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Les Vierges [Virgins] collection, Laudes ensemble, Model : Dita Von Teese, Haute couture spring/summer 2007, © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Collection Belles des champs, Prêt-à-porter Femme printemps-été 2006, © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Collection Les Actrices, robe Étoiles et toiles, Haute couture automne-hiver 2009-2010, © P. Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Les Parisiennes [Parisiennes] collection, Le Gauchisme de Park Avenue ensemble, Haute couture fall/winter 2010-2011, © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier.

Nathalie Bondil, Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry-Maxime Loriot, Photo : William Mazzoleni.