Sunday, February 23, 2014

Attention: Jean Paul Gaultier is Leaving the Building

This marks the final day of a truly amazing exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. The sprawling collection of the work of Jean Paul Gaultier--perhaps best known to laypeople like me for his collaborations with Madonna--is not to be missed if you happen to be in town today (and are willing to deal with crowds). Representing a trajectory spanning more than three decades of design, the show is a fascinating look at what has driven the French fashion icon's art--from childhood inspiration to political and gender subversion. To my surprise, an hour and a half was not enough time for more than a cursory survey of the thoughtfully curated, narrative-driven exhibition. Among the high points for me was an up-close look at the exquisitely creative details through which the ensembles were constructed. As a point of emphasis, most of the outfits were accompanied by placards listing the number of hours each piece took to fabricate. Some of them were painstakingly created over the course of more than 1,000 hours. Photos of the exhibition follow, including a couple of clips of a very eery facial projection technique used to accessorize several of the mannequins, including one of Gaultier himself.