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Paolo Roversi (Italian, b. 1947). Tanel Bedrossiantz, 1992. Digital print, 15 x 12 in. (38.3 x 30.8 cm). Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Barbès” women’s ready-to-wear fall-winter collection of 1984–85. © Paolo Roversi

<p>Paolo Roversi (Italian, b. 1947). <i>Tanel Bedrossiantz</i>, 1992. Digital print, 15 x 12 in. (38.3 x 30.8 cm). Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Barbès” women’s ready-to-wear fall-winter collection of 1984–85. © Paolo Roversi</p>

Paolo Roversi (Italian, b. 1947). Tanel Bedrossiantz, 1992. Digital print, 15 x 12 in. (38.3 x 30.8 cm). Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Barbès” women’s ready-to-wear fall-winter collection of 1984–85. © Paolo Roversi

<p>Jean Paul Gaultier (French, b. 1952). Corset-style body suit with garters, 1990, Duchess satin. Worn by Madonna during the “Metropolis” (“Express Yourself”) sequence of the Blond Ambition World Tour (1990). Collection of Madonna, New York. (Photo: The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Christine Guest)</p>

Jean Paul Gaultier (French, b. 1952). Corset-style body suit with garters, 1990, Duchess satin. Worn by Madonna during the “Metropolis” (“Express Yourself”) sequence of the Blond Ambition World Tour (1990). Collection of Madonna, New York. (Photo: The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Christine Guest)

Gaultier’s corsets are very sexy-looking, and I consider wearing them a form of personal expression. The practice is oppressive only if it is forced, and women today can choose to wear them or not; it is up to them. Plus, I wore those corsets as garments—on the outside—not as underwear hidden beneath my other clothes, the complete opposite of the way they were traditionally worn, in order to achieve a certain shape. I think that inversion of the concept of the corset is what turns it into a symbol of feminine power and sexual freedom.

—Madonna

<p>“Musette” ensemble from Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Ze Parisienne” haute couture spring-summer collection of 2002. Beaded sailor-striped sweater, black stretch wool pantskirt. © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier</p>

“Musette” ensemble from Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Ze Parisienne” haute couture spring-summer collection of 2002. Beaded sailor-striped sweater, black stretch wool pantskirt. © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier

I’ve always loved the graphic and architectural aspects of stripes. My mother dressed me in sailor-striped sweaters. They go with everything, never go out of style, and probably never will. There were also other influences: my grandmother, Coco Chanel, Jean Genet, Popeye, Tom of Finland, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and his film Querelle, the title character of which was the ultimate sailor, a hypersexualized gay symbol, a fantasy, an icon, a form of virility that could be ambiguous.

—Jean Paul Gaultier

<p>Alix Malka (French). <i>Untitled</i>, n.d. Digital photo, 47 x 74<sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> in. (119.6 x 189.6 cm). “La Mariée” wedding gown from Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Mermaids” spring-summer haute couture collection of 2008. Latex bodysuit with golden scales; cone bra with shells; long, form-fitting sequined alpaca skirt with latex mermaid’s tail. © Alix Malka</p>

Alix Malka (French). Untitled, n.d. Digital photo, 47 x 7412 in. (119.6 x 189.6 cm). “La Mariée” wedding gown from Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Mermaids” spring-summer haute couture collection of 2008. Latex bodysuit with golden scales; cone bra with shells; long, form-fitting sequined alpaca skirt with latex mermaid’s tail. © Alix Malka

<p>A design from Jean Paul Gaultier’s “French Cancan” women’s ready-to-wear fall-winter collection of 1991–92, as seen at his thirtieth anniversary retrospective runway show, October 2006. © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier</p>

A design from Jean Paul Gaultier’s “French Cancan” women’s ready-to-wear fall-winter collection of 1991–92, as seen at his thirtieth anniversary retrospective runway show, October 2006. © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier

<p>“Apparitions” gown from Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Virgins (or Madonnas)” women’s haute couture spring-summer collection of 2007. “Celestial” print satin strapless sheath; bustier-style top with “hologram” embroidery, bows; ivory silk tulle overskirt; “hologram,” ivory lace veil. © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier</p>

“Apparitions” gown from Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Virgins (or Madonnas)” women’s haute couture spring-summer collection of 2007. “Celestial” print satin strapless sheath; bustier-style top with “hologram” embroidery, bows; ivory silk tulle overskirt; “hologram,” ivory lace veil. © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier

Gaultier’s 2007 “Virgins” collection was inspired by the imagery and symbolism of Christianity and religious art. For the runway show, the models had tears painted on their faces and their hair was styled to resemble medieval and Renaissance paintings of the Virgin.

<p>Jean Paul Gaultier’s teddy bear, Nana, circa 1957. © Rainer Torrado/Jean Paul Gaultier</p>

Jean Paul Gaultier’s teddy bear, Nana, circa 1957. © Rainer Torrado/Jean Paul Gaultier

From an early age, I experimented with various aspects of design. I made my first cone-shaped breasts out of newsprint for my teddy bear Nana. I took a round doily from my grandmother’s house and cut out a circle in the middle of it to make a skirt for my bear. I did a bias cut that way without knowing what it was. —Jean Paul Gaultier

<p>Jean Paul Gaultier (French, b. 1952). Sketch of Madonna’s stage costumes for her Blond Ambition World Tour, 1989–90, inkjet print, 11 x 17 in. (27.9 x 43.1 cm). © Jean Paul Gaultier</p>

Jean Paul Gaultier (French, b. 1952). Sketch of Madonna’s stage costumes for her Blond Ambition World Tour, 1989–90, inkjet print, 11 x 17 in. (27.9 x 43.1 cm). © Jean Paul Gaultier

<p>Karl Lagerfeld (German, b. 1935). <i>Untitled (Alek Wek) Numéro</i>, March 2000. “Dubar” gown from Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Romantic India” women’s spring-summer haute couture collection of 2000. Camouflage evening gown featuring myriad khaki, cinnamon, papaya tulle ruffles. © Karl Lagerfeld</p>

Karl Lagerfeld (German, b. 1935). Untitled (Alek Wek) Numéro, March 2000. “Dubar” gown from Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Romantic India” women’s spring-summer haute couture collection of 2000. Camouflage evening gown featuring myriad khaki, cinnamon, papaya tulle ruffles. © Karl Lagerfeld

Sarah Jessica Parker wore this gown at the 2000 MTV Movie Awards in New York.

<p>Jean Paul Gaultier’s Classique eau de toilette. (Photo: BPI)</p>

Jean Paul Gaultier’s Classique eau de toilette. (Photo: BPI)

For the bottle, I was keen on the concept of the human body, to which I wanted to incorporate what I remembered of my grandmother’s corsets. For the packaging, I wanted to appropriate an everyday object, something solid and functional like a can, and use it in blatant contradiction to the traditionally luxurious perfume bottle. It was technically very difficult to make a flesh-colored corset bottle or even to give a tin can the shape of a corset. So, the idea was to cover a body-shaped bottle with a corset and then package it in a can—something that was protective but cold. I wanted it to seem real. Through that somewhat incompatible combination, the body thus became the content.

—Jean Paul Gaultier

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

October 25, 2013–February 23, 2014

The Brooklyn Museum is the only East Coast venue for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, the first international exhibition dedicated to the groundbreaking French couturier. Playful, poetic, and transformative, Gaultier’s superbly crafted and detailed garments are inspired by the beauty and diversity of global cultures.

This multimedia exhibition is organized around seven themes tracing the influences on Gaultier’s development—from the streets of Paris to the cinema—since he emerged as a designer in the 1970s. It features approximately 140 haute couture and prêt-à-porter ensembles, from the designer’s earliest to his most recent collections, many of which are displayed on custom mannequins with interactive faces created by high-definition audiovisual projections. Accessories, sketches, stage costumes, excerpts from films, and documentation of runway shows, concerts, and dance performances, as well as photographs by fashion photographers and contemporary artists who stepped into Gaultier’s world, explore how his avant-garde designs challenge societal, gender, and aesthetic codes in unexpected ways.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration with Maison Jean Paul Gaultier, Paris. The exhibition is curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot of the MMFA. The Brooklyn presentation is coordinated by Lisa Small, Curator of Exhibitions, Brooklyn Museum.

Generous support for the Brooklyn exhibition is provided by

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