It’s undeniable that Jean Paul Gaultier’s design career — always innovative, always stunningly avant-garde — is well beyond deserving of an exhibit (really, his works could and should launch a museum). After over forty years in the business of haute couture, the designer is at long last the subject of a solo exposition at De Young Museum in San Francisco.
“The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” is quite literally a physical multimedia manifestation of the eccentric, synesthetic universe he creates season after season. Each of the six thematic rooms pays homage to a motif that informed his collections over the years: “The Odyssey,” an ode to the sea and those who inhabit it, as well as “The Boudoir,” “Skin Deep,” “Punk Cancan,” “Urban Jungle,” and Metropolis.” Most interesting are the characters — the exhibition features thirty realistic animated mannequins, enlisting a unique “living quality” that Gaultier insisted upon. Some models smirk, wink, and talk, but the most striking dummies are the ones who stand silent, yet glance or blink unexpectedly. Gaultier has managed to create and maintain a fashion world for decades, but now there’s one that we, too, can inhabit, for only the price of admission. [Highbrow Magazine]