The de Young San Francisco Presents – Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier. Ad campaign for the Fin de siècle collection Women’s prêt-à-porter spring/summer 1995 Art direction and photography: Jean Paul Gaultier © Jean Paul Gaultier

Opening on March 24, 2012 the de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park presents, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, the first exhibition devoted to the celebrated French designer and his personal themes of “equality, diversity and perversity.” The de Young is the exclusive west coast venue for this critically acclaimed international exhibition after its premier at the organizing institution, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and its presentation at the Dallas Museum of Art. The exhibition will be on view at the de Young in the Herbst Exhibition Galleries from March 24-August 19, 2012.

Virgins (or Madonnas) collection, “Dolorès” gown Haute couture spring/summer 2007 Black gloss-finish guipure top over an ivory silk tulle underskirt with large religious-motif jacquard medallion appliqués encircled by black guipure © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier

Dubbed fashion’s “enfant terrible” from the time of his first runway shows in the 1970s, Jean Paul Gaultier is indisputably one of the most important fashion designers of recent decades. Very early on, his avant-garde fashions reflected an understanding of a multicultural society’s issues and preoccupations, shaking up—with invariable good humor—established societal and aesthetic codes. More of a contemporary installation than a fashion retrospective, this major exhibition—which the couturier considers to be a creation in its own right—features approximately 140 ensembles spanning over 35 years from the designer’s couture and ready-to-wear collections, along with his accessories, and numerous archival documents. Many of these extraordinary pieces have never before been exhibited.

Paolo Roversi, Tanel Bedrossiantz, 1992 Barbès collection Women’s prêt-à-porter fall/winter 1984–1985 Digital print © Paolo Roversi

“Was there ever a more perfect match than Jean Paul Gaultier and San Francisco?” asked John E. Buchanan, Jr., the recently deceased director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “This exhibition fuses the energy of street culture with haute couture craftsmanship and presents it through the lens of cutting edge multimedia that is synonymous to the Bay Area.  As the exclusive venue for previous exhibitions of the work of Vivienne Westwood, Yves Saint Laurent and Cristobal Balenciaga, we know the Bay Area is ready to explore the oeuvre of yet another master of design, Jean Paul Gaultier.”

Jean Paul Gaultier. Parisiennes collection, Les Particules élémentaires dress haute couture fall/winter 2010-2011 © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier

“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, an unbridled imagination, and ground-breaking artistic collaborations, Gaultier offers an open-minded vision of society, a crazy, sensitive, and sassy world in which everyone can assert his or her own identity through a unique ‘fusion couture.’”

The Raw and the Refined collection Men’s prêt-à-porter spring/summer 1994 30th anniversary retrospective runway show, October 2006 © Patrice Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier

A celebration of Gaultier’s daring inventiveness and humanist vision, this exhibition pays tribute to his cutting-edge fashion and explores the audaciously eclectic sources of his ideas. “Jean Paul Gaultier,” notes Thierry-Maxime Loriot, originating curator, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, “initiates trends rather than following them, which explains why he is still relevant after more than 35 years of creation. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is not simply reminiscent of the past, but rather a link to the present as seen through the eyes of the couturier. By paying tribute to different cultures, mixing pop culture and couture, breaking the codes of fashion and taboos of society, you realize how open-minded and generous Gaultier’s fashion is. This unique exhibition offers visitors access to the world of Jean Paul Gaultier and haute couture, as well as articulating the strong social message behind his work, which truly defines his very own distinctive aesthetic.”

Visiting the de Young Museum

Address: Golden Gate Park 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive San Francisco, CA 94118 Phone: 415-750-3600

Hours: Monday – Closed Tuesday – Sunday 9:30am – 5:15pm Friday  (Beginning March 30) 9:30am – 8:45pm

Admission: Adults $10 Seniors $7 Youths 13 – 17 and Students with valid Collage ID $6

*There is a $10 surcharge for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

The exhibition travels to the following venues after San Francisco:

  • Fundación Mapfre – Instituto de Cultura, Madrid
  • September 26 – November 18, 2012
  • Kunsthal Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  • February 9 – May 12, 2013

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