Thirty five year at the helm of his own brand, celebrated French couturier Jean Paul Gaultier is adorned with an exceptional restrospective exhibition of his career at Montreal’s Fine Arts Museum. The exhibit includes 150 iconic pieces, both ready to wear and haute couture from his early days at Pierre Cardin in 1970 till today.
Gaultier set up his own fashion house in 1976 and his designs became an instant success, fusing a powerful social message with the essence of beauty in all forms. He became known for its unconventional styles such as the iconic Bra Cones Corset which Madonna wore in his Vogue video and torus worldwide as well as for his choice of models, both men and women, defying all social rules.
With a very overt style and emphasis on diversity, his designs have been bold, at times aggressive, yet still maintaining an air of lightness and happiness. His outgoing personality has inspired generations and made him a favourite with the media. International Herald Tribune fashion columnist Suzy Menkes called Gaultier a ”national treasure”. Olivier Saillard, Director of Galliera Museum said in an interview about Gaultier:”A brilliant illustrator of Today, he embodies a perfect blend between fashion and the street, mocking and at times defying it all”.
His men’s skirt was then followed by the sailor striped T-shirt and the signature feather haute couture collection of the late 90s. Evian, Air France and recently Piper Heidsick are some of France’s established brands which have launched Gaultier branded products.
In 1980 Jean Pault Gaultier once again made headlines by creating the famous men’s skirt, thus assuming his male narcisism. In 1997, he showed his first Haute Couture collection, he positioned his work as an antithesis between classic and avantgarde. His dedication for the couture tailoring and extreme attention to details, from materials to finishes have gained worldwide recognition, his brand fragrances lines becoming among the best sold in the world.
His genius was once again recognized by leading French luxury maison HERMES who appointed Gaultier as Creative Director for its women’s ready to wear line in 2004 and he maintained his position until earlier this year, when Hermes sold its majority stake in Jean Paul Gaultier to Spanish beauty holding PUIG, also the owner of Nina Ricci, Carolina Herrera and Paco Rabanne. Following the transaction, Gaultier has maintained full control of the creative direction of his own label.
The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition is on display until 1st October 2011, at the Beaux Arts Museum in Montreal, Canada.
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