Thursday, 30 October 2014

JPGNGV - Jean Paul Gaultier at the National Gallery of Victoria

Ok ... Jean Paul I love you ... but you're getting me down!! In the throes of somewhat debilitating depression, I look at this very slim snapshot of fashion's enfant terrible's career and think about what I've never accomplished in comparison, and its a deep and very dark hole I peer into.

However, lets look away for an instant and momentarily beguile our senses with the high costumery drama that is the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.



The ticket was a lovely and thoughtful present from good friends of mine so we scheduled a date for a recent Saturday afternoon. Arriving a little earlier (i.e. on time as its the done thing to be fashionably late!) than scheduled we plonked ourselves out front and watched the fashionistas go by. Some people made an effort, including a lucite-heeled rock chic glamourpuss in clear metallic sheen with her equally tousled and sequined boyfriend. And then there were a truckload of breton stripes ... please don't!

The exhibition is split into a number of sections and themes, but you are immediately confronted by the animated faces on some of the mannequins as you first walk in. I'm guessing these are projected and its a nice, unusual, and slightly creepy touch. It gives new meaning to the phrase "and the eyes follow you round the room".

video

The first section houses my favourite of all the tabelaus: the Virgins (or Madonnas) collection, full of intricate lacework, ribboning and bodice ripping gothic romance. The sort of haute coutre favoured by eccentrics like Helena Bonham Carter or perhaps even GaGa. And its in this room you meet the Breton stripe in all its glory. Backlit by a curious almost nightbus-UV blue.






Further rooms reveal a calvacade of garments full of intricate detail with a wealth of historical, cultural and global references stitched into fabric and non-fabric alike, reigns firmly wielded by our cheeky, irreverent but highly articulate gallic sailor boy host. 

You'll find corsetry galore in the Boudoir section ...



Anglophile obsession with an explosion of 70s and 80s era punk and new wave influences in the Punk Cancan section ...




The Paris-Glasgow-Dehli catwalk, a revolving belt of outfits paying homage to Paris and its multicultural arrondisements ... 




Bondage and body morphism in the Skin Deep section with some amazing ecorche fabrics, backlit like some seedy underground sex club ...







Take a trip around the world and immerse yourself in the colour and intricacies of traditional craft in the Urban Jungle section - take your time here and look carefully as the devil is in the details ...




And to finish off, Muses gives you antipodean celebrity overload - all the star-studded touchpoints are here, with the Souffle as worn by Nicole Kidman being my favourite.





The exhibition continues into February next year so you have plenty of time. But don't miss it!! Be prepared for the comedown though ... life seems rather colourless and unremarkable after spending time so very close to all this heightened glamour.


And here's my little slice of the JPG cake which sadly I don't fit into anymore ...



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