Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibit Opens in Montreal

Photo courtesy of Jean Paul Gaultier
Enfant Terrible: A young Jean Paul Gaultier

The enfant terrible of the fashion world is finally getting a little respect.

Jean Paul Gaultier, who launched his first ready to wear collection in 1976 and opened his eponymous fashion house in 1997, is the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, opening June 17.

“Beyond the technical virtuosity resulting from exceptional expertise in the various skills involved in haute couture, an unbridled imagination and ground‐breaking artistic collaborations, he offers an open‐minded vision of society, a crazy, sensitive, funny, sassy world in which everyone can assert his or her own identity, a world without discrimination, a unique ‘fusion couture,’” said Nathalie Bondil, the museum’s director and chief curator, in a statement. “Beneath Jean Paul Gaultier’s wit and irreverence lie a true generosity of spirit and a very powerful message for society. His humanist aesthetic touches me deeply.”

No era of Gaultier’s goes unacknowledged: there are the quintessentially French-striped shirts, but there are also Mohawk and tartan-sporting mannequins, over-the-top eveningwear, and yes, that conical bra-topped bustier.

The exhibition includes about 120 ensembles, but also sketches, fashion photography, and excerpts from films, runway shows, performances and more, in six different sections: The Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier; The Boudoir; Skin Deep; Eurostar; Urban Jungle; and Metropolis.

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Photo courtesy of Jean Paul Gaultier

Madonna's famed Blonde Ambition conical bustier (left) and a Gaultier creation for Dita Von Teese (right).

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk will be open at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts through October 2, 2011, at which point the exhibition will travel to the Dallas Museum of Art and then the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.

In related news, find out which fashion and beauty group recently acquired Jean Paul Gaultier.