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Go Gaultier! Before It’s Gone

Gaultier signs the wall to San Francisco

Do not panic (well maybe a little).  There is still time (barely).  Please do yourself the favor of viewing the world that is John Paul Gaultier at the San Francisco De Young Museum.  You have until this Sunday, the 19th.  You have been warned.

The exhibit opened on March 24th and prior to this public unveiling, I had the honor (and I really stress the word honor) to attend the press viewing of  The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.  Along with this golden ticket came the experience of attending a talk with Gaultier himself.  If ever there was a more down-to-earth, genuinely happy being, he is it.  I was in the presence of fashion royalty, speaking candidly about how feeding his cat one day inspired a jewelry collection of chic tin-can bangles and neck adornments.  Brilliant.

Gaultier knows punk. His tin can jewels inspired by feeding his cat.

Dede Wilsey, president of the board of the M.H. de Young Museum, opened the morning by talking about her initial thoughts of bringing Gaultier to San Francisco.  Of course she was familiar with the designer but she described herself as  being “more of a Chanel-y type of person”.  ”St. Laurent I understand, Balenciaga I understand” she stated but Gaultier’s type of fashion was a bit outside the box.  Yet when she saw the collection up-close and personal there was one thing she did understand. That his work is art.

Dede Wilsey and Gaultier speaking at the De Young Museum

Natalie Bondil, Director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, called her experience working on the exhibit as “a nightmare with a beautiful outcome”.  From the intricate animated mannequins (amazing!), rotating catwalks, the perfect backgrounds and lighting, the vast offering of decades of design, personal mementos of Gaultier’s life and times, I can only imagine the challenge to set the perfect stage for such a special collection.  No mater how nightmarish the process, the outcome was more than beautiful, it was surreal.  It was a dream that I never wanted to wake-up from.  There wasn’t enough time to take in each item, to note the thoughtful attention paid to every detail, to lift your jaw off the floor in wonder and amazement of Gaultier’s complex yet simple creative mind. With no formal training, Gaultier, truly is a chosen one.  I think that people make design and the process too complicated at times.  Searching for what is “right”, when really it is what is right in front of or around you.  Gaultier said it best, with a smile and a laugh,  ”I see the beauty in it”.  From cans of cat food to S & M culture, he has created beauty in everything he has seen

Gaultier’s long-time model, muse and friend, Tanel Bedrossiantz and I strike a pose.

OH! And what did Liz wear?  Neck-to-toe vintage Gaultier, of course ;)

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