When Jean Paul Gaultier visited Australia 20 years ago, it was not the Opera House, Great Ocean Road, Uluru or the Great Barrier Reef that caught his eye. Instead, he was mesmerised by Sydney’s Mardi Gras.
”You people make the best dykes on the bikes in the world,” laughed Gaultier in his studio in Paris. ”I was in Australia at the moment of the Mardi Gras and it was the most incredible and fabulous thing.”
The long-reigning enfant terrible of French fashion has created conical bras and corsets for Madonna, dressed men in skirts and showcased women and men of all sizes and ages on his catwalks.
His irreverent and challenging designs will be celebrated in Australia when the world’s first international exhibition devoted to Gaultier opens at the National Gallery of Victoria on October 17. Gaultier will attend the opening.
More than 140 garments spanning more than 40 years will be on display in The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.
The bras and corsets Gaultier made for Madonna, designs created for Beyonce and Lady Gaga and collaborations with Andy Warhol are among pieces in the show, launched in Melbourne on Thursday.
An Australian muses section has been created for the Melbourne leg, highlighting Gaultier’s relationship with locals including Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman (his first couture client) and Kylie Minogue, for whom he has designed many stage costumes.