Major exhibitions of archives from fashion designers are on the rise. The most notable are at The Metropolitan Museum in New York -- but the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco is gaining steam as one of the best American museums to do great fashion exhibitions.
In the last few years, they've done both a tribute to Balenciaga and to Vivienne Westwood. And lots of fashion lovers from Hollywood have been at both, dressed to the nines. And expecations are similarly high for DeYoung’s upcoming exhibit, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.
It will run from March 24 to Aug. 19, and will be a retrospective of the designer's amazing -- and quite unique -- career, which started with ready to wear in 1976 then with Gaultier Couture launching in 1997.
JPG, as this "enfant terrible" is often known, is famed for tackling issues of gender and androgyny, putting women in sharply cut men's pin stripe suits (i.e. Madonna) and men in skirts.
His women's and men's perfumes are in bottles that look like naked bodies. He has also always used multiculturalism as a theme, basing various collections on rabbis, African tribes, and the like. His recent couture show in January was built around the iconization of Amy Winehouse. He follows his imagination wherever it takes him, and it's always somewhere interesting. JPG always goes his own way.
The exhibit will show 140 haute couture and ready to wear designs from the 70's to 2010, along with numerous sketches, archival documents, fashion photographs, and video clips that spotlight Gaultier’s collaborations with filmmakers, choreographers, and musicians, most notably Madonna.
For this presentation, Gaultier partnered with the Montreal-based theater company Ubu Compagnie de Création in the design of 30 animated mannequins who talk and sing in playful and poetic vignettes.
Will Madonna show for the opening? Without a doubt, a lot of fashion loving celebs will make the trek from L.A. to S.F. -- perhaps even Nicole Kidman, who's worn Gaultier repeatedly. We do know the Parisian bad boy himself will be in S.F. at the Saturday, March 24 opening for a conversation with International Tribute writer Suzy Menkes at 11 a.m.