Keeping Up with the Fashionistas – Jean Paul Gaultier at the de Young

Ow do you do zat?
Ow do you do zat?

Type Jean Paul Gaultier into the interweb machine and you’ll get a bunch of images of a middle-aged man in a striped shirt. Then you’ll start to see clothing that Monsieur Gaultier has created over the past three decades. And you’ll begin to see many wonderous things. And you’ll become interested.

From this point you can research and study, explore and critique.

And I guarantee that you’ll find something that makes you think!

And I guarantee that you’ll find something you like!

Black and white on the runway
Black and white on the runway

from elegant

Green dress on runway
Green dress on runway

to luscious…

Coral
Coral

from figurative

detail of Paris dress
detail of Paris dress

to literal.

Now I am NOT going to give you a lesson or a speech bout Gaultier. One, because I know exactly squat about him or fashion or couture. And two, because I am sure it’s all been done before.

Do I qualify?
Do I qualify?

I do want to show you some photographs that I took at the recent exhibit of Jean Paul Gaultier’s work that I visited at the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco.

shell bustier on mermaid wedding dress
shell bustier on mermaid wedding dress

detail of beading on mermaid wedding dress
detail of beading on mermaid wedding dress

I almost didn’t go to the show – what do I know for fashion?

Mermaid dress
Mermaid dress

Bustier on mermaid dress
Bustier on mermaid dress
detail of mermaid dress
detail of mermaid dress

I might not know fashion, BUT… the textures! Three steps into the show and I was enthralled. Beads, ribbons, lace, embroidery, shells, buttons, leathers, ruffles, tulle, gathers, twists, cords, and lots of fish net.

detail of button skirt
detail of button skirt
Wedding dress
Wedding dress
Purse
Purse
Boots
Boots
Boots with knitted stockings
Boots with knitted stockings
Leggings
Leggings
boot
boot

While I didn’t know anything about Jean Paul Gaultier before I went to the exhibit (wearing my Target t-shirt and Walmart bra I might add), I was so energized by seeing it. Instead of my usual museum visit where I inevitably find myself sprinting towards the exit like my pants (Not Your Daughter’s Jeans) are on fire and collapsing into a chair in the cafe in hope of a coffee I.V., I actually went slow, enjoyed the jostle of the lively crowd, and felt ready to bead a codpiece when I left the hall. (Ok that last part is not true – all of you know I’d never want to bead ANYTHING!)

So JP has been a busy boy. He’s made about a million pieces of clothing – Haute Couture and Pret a Porte, costume and lots of undies.

Chest of drawers with built-in vanity
Chest of drawers with built-in vanity
Vanity with drawers
Vanity with drawers
JP love seat
JP love seat

He’s also made cool furniture, perfume, music and had a TV show.

Yes, he’s been a very busy striped-shirt-wearing boy.

Seeing a retrospective of a thirty-year body of work makes me think I’ve got to get my butt in gear – I haven’t produced a fraction of what Jean Paul has. He’s only ten years older than me and I’m way behind in production.

And I have yet to produce something important. I’ve got to get to work.

Crochet dress - front
Crochet dress – front
Crochet dress - back
Crochet dress – back

I need to yarn bomb a dress.

Sharkskin appliques
Sharkskin appliques

I need to use sharkskin.

Wheat sheaf bustier
Wheat sheaf bustier

I need to make a tutu out of wheat.

Folklorico skirt
Folklorico skirt

I need to make a cool skirt.

OK. So I don’t need to do these things – because Jean Paul has done them already. It’s his art, his world, his metier.

But within my art, my world, my metier I need to make something new, intriguing, important.

At this point in my career I’m super busy and making things all the time. I haven’t figured out how to make enough money to pay the bills. And I haven’t figured out how to do my work and keep my house clean. And now I have to add CREATE IMPORTANT WORK to my long list of things to do. Hmmm.

Beaded cheetah dress
Beaded cheetah dress

Ok – not in a make a two-thousand-and-six-(wo)man-hour beaded dress sort of way…

White lace mask
White lace mask

And probably not in a creepy ric rac mask sort of way…

detail of Folklorico skirt
detail of Folklorico skirt

But I’ll find a way – and I’ll bring you all on the journey with me.

2 thoughts on “Keeping Up with the Fashionistas – Jean Paul Gaultier at the de Young”

  1. Wish I could have been there to go with you. That mermaid dress is fantastic! And the crochet overlay on the other dress….swoon!

    1. You would have loved it! And then you could have seen Timothy Olyphant in the photography show too! He’s a cutie – if a little pidgeon-toed!
      And of course the sharkskin corset for Stephan!

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