The Kunsthalle celebrates its first fashion presentation, its 30th anniversary and its 100th exhibition with Jean Paul Gaultier. This comprehensive show pays homage to Gaultier’s diverse and fascinating oeuvre. For the past 40 years, the French couturier, dubbed the enfant terrible of the international fashion, has been one of the most influential designers of contemporary fashion.
More than any other, his bold and ironic creations have repeatedly challenged our concept of fashion and beauty.
Throughout his career, Gaultier (born in 1952) has made it his mission to challenge conventional views on the social roles of fashion, while audaciously extending the fundamental manufacturing principles of fashion design. He uses a wide range of materials like feathers, crystals, animal skins, jet stones, metal cans or rubber – often in unconventional combinations – for his avantgarde creations, which are finished with superb workmanship by his Paris couture atelier. Besides this city, he finds inspiration in a variety of sources: from his celebration of different cultures – from geishas to toreros – the world of pop and mass media to the trends of subcultures like London punks or New Wave.
An openly gay fashion designer, he claims as his social ideal the right to be different and live according to one’s own individual identity. Gaultier rose to fame with his kilt-like skirts for men, challenging conventional gender stereotypes and engrained fashion codes. Without a shadow of a doubt, the designer has achieved cult status – both in haute couture and in popular culture. The exhibition presents some 160 of his creations, dating from the early 1970s up to now. In addition to his haute couture and prêt-à-porter designs, the show includes costumes produced for Pedro Almodóvar’s films and stage outfits for popstars, like the famous bustier worn by Madonna in 1990 that caused a stir on her Blond Ambition Tour. Apart from the Queen of Pop, also Kylie Minogue and many other stars have loaned their Gaultier pieces to be included in the exhibition.
Gaultier’s close cooperation with artists like Pierre et Gilles, Peter Lindbergh, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol is presented in extensive artistic and documentary film material, videos and photographs. Exclusively for the Munich venue, Peter Lindbergh shot the lead images for poster and catalogue featuring Jean Paul Gaultier and Nadja Auermann.
The show is not a mere fashion retrospective but a poetic contemporary installation: with the strong social message we find in his work, the exhibition embraces various arts and reflects the spirit of Gaultier in an opulent extravaganza.
The exhibition is organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with Maison Jean Paul Gaultier and the Kunsthalle Munich.