Never one to conform to the norm, the classic ‘enfant terrible’ Jean Paul Gaultier entered the press viewing of his retrospective exhibition, The Fashion World Of Jean Paul Gaultier: From The Sidewalk To The Catwalk, with none other than the Queen of England on his arm, of course. Well perhaps not the actual Queen but a fabulously stylish lookalike in full finery, whilst Gaultier in true form arrived in a tuxedo with a twist as he flashed his white thigh out of a thigh-high split maxi skirt.
The exhibition opens to the public at London’s Barbican Gallery today after travelling the world since it opened in Canada three years ago, and expectedly everyone has been eagerly awaiting its opening in its new London home until August 25.
Out to celebrate with the Gallic designer were many of his close friends and collaborators including a heavily pregnant Erin O’Connor and his long time friend and muse Farida Khelfa, who were serenaded by Rufus Wainwright on the piano whilst sipping cocktails handed out by waiters decked out in Gaultier’s classic nautical stripes and conical bustiers.
Whilst Gaultier might appear to take nothing seriously, you can immediately see in the 165 ready-to-wear and haute couture pieces on show, just how painstakingly dedicated he is when it comes to fashion and design.
Working for over 38 years in the industry, the self-taught designer has created a creative and controversial legacy for himself, from the infamous conical bra of Madonna’s 1990 Blonde Ambition tour to his more recent homage to Amy Winehouse in his Spring 2012 collection, there is definitely more to the man than mere whimsy.
There is almost too much to take in at the two-floor retrospective with every piece telling another story, but one thing for sure is that you can never get bored of Gaultier!