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NGV announces Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition for summer 2014/15

FROM the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is the Australian-exclusive exhibition of the bold, eccentric fashion of one of the industry’s biggest icons. Juliana Mare reports.

Andrej Pejić 2013. Confession of a Child of the Century collection. Jean Paul Gaultier Haute couture, autumn- winter 2012-13 © Alix Malka

Andrej Pejić 2013. Confession of a Child of the Century collection.
Jean Paul Gaultier Haute couture, autumn- winter 2012-13 © Alix Malka

Dita Von Teese, Gemma Ward, Sarah Jessica Parker and Beyoncé have all donned a Jean Paul Gaultier frock but it’s the radical cone bra worn by Madonna during her 1990 Blond Ambition tour that is perhaps his most recognised piece of fashion art.

More than 100 fabulous Gaultier designs ranging from his earliest dress in 1971 to his current work will be on display at the National Gallery of Victoria in summer 2014/2015. Minister for the Arts Heidi Victoria says it will be one of the most exciting we’ll see anywhere in Australia in the next few years.

Millions have already viewed the exhibition in Montreal, New York and London. But for the Melbourne leg of the world tour, an exclusive section showcasing Gaultier’s Australian muses has been developed.

Left: Gaultier gown worn by Cate Blanchett. Right: Gaultier gowns worn by Kylie Minogue (left) and Nicole Kidman (right). Photos: Rachel Gan.

Left: Gaultier gown worn by Cate Blanchett. Right: Gaultier gowns worn by Kylie Minogue (left) and Nicole Kidman (right). Photos: Rachel Gan.

“In preparing this exhibition, I have realised how strong my ties to Australia are. Nicole Kidman was my first couture client. I have dressed Cate Blanchett on numerous occasions. Kylie [Minogue] is a dear friend,” Gaultier says.

The exhibition will have seven sections, each exploring a different passion and obsession had by Gaultier over the years. These include The Boudoir, which highlights Gaultier’s pieces of lingerie and exquisite corsetry; Punk Cancan, which showcases his brilliantly contrasting styles; and Urban Jungle, where there is a fusion of multiethnic influences.

Exhibition curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot worked with Gaultier for two years to sift through his archives and choose just 140 of more than 10,000 pieces, a task Loriot says was both a dream and a nightmare.

Everything from design sketches, accessories, film excerpts and runway footage will feature throughout the exhibition to showcase Gaultier’s incredible fashion, film and music repertoire.

Dita Von Teese: Flaunt 2003 Dada collection. Jean Paul Gaultier Ready-to-wear, spring- summer 1983 © Perou

Dita Von Teese: Flaunt 2003
Dada collection. Jean Paul Gaultier Ready-to-wear, spring- summer 1983
© Perou

Thirty two of the exhibition mannequins will come to life with animated faces of the celebrities that wore the eccentric designs. They will wink, smile and sing to the audience – an innovative feature the likes of which have never been seen in a gallery before.

NGV Director Tony Ellwood says he’s thrilled the NGV will be hosting such a “ground-breaking international exhibition”.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: from the Sidewalk to the Catwalk will open at the NGV on October 17.

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