Living Legends: A Celebration of Jean Paul Gaultier

A Celebration of Jean Paul Gaultier

 
by Egomeli Hormeku

Signature striped shirts. Hundreds and hundreds of signature striped shirts.

I wasn’t at all surprised that fans of Jean Paul Gaultier would pay homage in what has become a uniform for the man who transcended fashion in ways only he could. Brooklyn Museum is now the home of an exclusive look back on the life, times, and career of Gaultier. Entitled The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, the exhibit will be on the fifth floor of the historic Brooklyn Museum until February 23rd, 2014.

I am no stranger to New York’s museum scene. As a New York native who has seen a smorgasbord of work pass through Brooklyn’s official bed of creation, nothing compares to the Jean Paul Gaultier experience. Beyond the guarded entry was a look into the life of Gaultier from his humble beginnings to the height of his work.

I am no stranger to New York’s museum scene.

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Black and white stills from Gautier’s humble beginnings surrounded the introduction of neon lights. Authentic sketches of pieces signed by Gaultier accentuated the walls from room to room, showing the start of a designers ideas and how they came to fruition. Magazine covers of past celebrities paid homage to his strong influence on pop culture. What stole the show were stages, compartments, and moving runways that held a mixture of gender and culturally inspired pieces from Gaultier on seemingly live mannequins.

In the quiet transition from one themed room to another, I overheard a young vibrant designer tell his colleague, “Gaultier is the best designer ever, dead or alive.” That is when it hit me. We were all bearing witness to decades of work at the zenith of high fashion from an iconoclast who is still here and designing. This was just a brief celebration thirty-seven design years in the making.

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Gaultier has made a living taking classic pieces and making statements with them, shape shifting through the world of ready-to-wear and haute couture. Room to room, there is always a sense of Parisian custom drenched in varied global interpretation and gender construct. My favorite part of the exhibit was a Gaultier inspired Red Light District, a two story landscape filled with extravagantly dressed mannequins peering down at onlookers.

Gaultier has made a living taking classic pieces and shape-shifting through the world of ready-to-wear and haute couture.

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I left the exhibit with a sudden urge to create. The line began to span the length of the entire floor with faces, languages, affiliations, and an array of fashion sense that was as eclectic as the exhibit itself. It then occurred to me that Brooklyn was not just some randomly chosen house of art for this collection for masterpieces to be placed.

It then occurred to me that Brooklyn was not just some randomly chosen house of art for this collection.

This was a capsule for those inspiring to challenge the status quo. This was an exhibit placed in the home of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week as a testament of where a creative’s dreams can go and the limitlessness it channels to speak to the world with. And limitlessness is an understatement as this month brings the Gaultier faithful and new fashion lovers a look at his new couture collection with prêt-a-porter next up in March. The legend is alive and well.

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Living Legends: A Celebration of Jean Paul Gaultier
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Brooklyn Museum is now the home of an exclusive look back on the life, times, and career of Gaultier. Entitled The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, the exhibit will be on the fifth floor of the historic Brooklyn Museum until February 23rd, 2014.

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