photo 12
June 21, 2012

I Got to See Gaultier!

Have you ever been to the de Young Museum in San Francisco? Before this trip, I had not. Boy, was I missing out. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning firm Herzog & de Meuron, the structure itself is spectacular. Elegant. Powerful. Need I say more? And as luck would have it, during my visit, the exhibition “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” was still on view. (It had previously been shown in Montreal and then Dallas.) I was so psyched to see it!

Front facade of the de Young Museum.

Befitting the designer’s kitschy and upbeat personality, this exhibition had none of the seriousness, heaviness or reverence that imbued the Alexander McQueen “Savage Beauty” show at the Met. Most people think of Gaultier as fashion’s former enfant terrible and provocateur who designed Madonna’s cone bra. But I now have a new found appreciation for his expert craftsmanship and bold creativity.

Surprisingly, photography was permitted so I snapped away to my heart’s content. Here is a sampling of memorable looks:

Freaky Talking Mannequins

“Auréole” gown. Virgins collection, haute couture spring/summer 2007. Pleated tulle and gold lamé gown; hammered brass and Plexiglass headdress.

“La mariée” wedding gown. Mermaids collection, haute couture spring/summer 2008. Latex bodysuit with gold scales, cone bra with shells, sequin-embroidered latex skirt, rubber crutches with coral motif.

Russian Doll

“Gaïna” gown. Tribute to Ukraine and Russia collection, haute couture fall/winter 2005-2006. Pieced ensemble with beaded embroidery.

Detail of “Gaïna” gown. Time needed to create: 242 hours.

Face Mask

“African Queen” gown. Tribute to Africa collection, haute couture spring/summer 2005. Raffia and tulle bustier; skirt of double-layered crinkled chiffon and silk tulle. Time needed to create: 163 hours.

Iconic Cones

Strapless dress with cone bra cups. Barbès collection, women’s prêt-à-porter fall/winter 1984-1985. Shirred velvet.

More images to come.  Stay tuned…

“The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” runs through August 19, 2012.

de Young Museum | Golden Gate Park | 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive | San Francisco, CA 94118 | 415.750.3600 |

Additional posts in this series:

Flesh-Toned Fantasies

Can Tacky Be Tasteful?

Gaultier Finale: Showstoppers

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. […] Flesh-toned frocks from “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier” exhibition: […]

  2. […] A few of the kookier looks from “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier” exhibition: […]

  3. […] well as from our current sweltering heat wave–here’s my final post about the Gaultier exhibition in San Francisco where the temperatures stayed in the low 70s with no humidity.  (Yes, […]

  4. […] fashion-related ones (a side effect of being a first-time homeowner). I also saw art exhibitions (Gaultier at the DeYoung Museum and Ai Weiwei at the Hirshhorn were especially enjoyable), daydreamed about a beach vacation, […]

  5. […] and Prada: Impossible Conversations,” I more than made up for it by seeing the exhilarating Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition in San […]


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