Monday, March 10, 2014

A Walk Through The World of Jean Paul Gaultier

 The "Virgins" Collection by Jean Paul Gaultier. 

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk may have ended on February 23rd, 2014, but it had such an impression on me, that I decided to write a reflection on this wonderful piece. 

Curated by Thierry-Maxine Loriot for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, this large exhibition (showcased at the Brooklyn Museum) was comprised of seven unique rooms/ sections, which are as follows: "The Odyssey," "The Boudoir," "Muses," "Punk Cancan," "Skin Deep," "Metropolis," and "Urban Jungle."  It was like physically and visually walking through a book of stories, all relating somehow to one another.  To not make the story very long, my favorite for sure was "The Boudoir,"  for its intimate feel, a behind the scenes look at Madonna's Blond Ambition tour, and the representation of the corset as something more liberating than encaging.

For some time now, I have admired Jean Paul Gaultier's work.  However, after personally seeing it, I have to say it is wearable, political, social, sexual and controversial art.  A man raised and surrounded by women his whole life, Gaultier admires the diversified beauty of the female and male bodies, no matter the race, age, size, height and whatever other details come to mind.  His work is rebellious, different, bringing something to the table that others do not.  His muses are real women from his personal life, pop culture, and show business, not unrealistic looking figures that unfortunately, many young women aspire to be.  In an excerpt from a documentary about him, which was showcased in the "Muses" section,  Gaultier says, "...You have to look really deep in order to find beauty." 

Gaultier's unique craftsmanship, along with the details - those time consuming details - makes his work a survey of our society influenced by past times periods with a modern point of view.  As a young woman myself, you can't help it but feel strong when you see the undergarment that is worn as an outer garment. It makes you feel empowered, like showing who you are, your unique identity, and celebrating your body, accepting it the way it is.

What I loved about this exhibit was that there's something for everyone, or more like phases in our daily lives: in your "Boudoir," ( el "tocador" in Spanish) at home, or being surrounded by the public when we are outside, like "Urban Jungle," where all the cultures collide with each other, something that happens in New York City every day.  "...A contemporary art installation rather than a fashion exhibition..." as explained by Thierry-Maxine Loriot, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is a fascinating piece of human experiences, subcultures, the destruction of pre-conceived ideas, the use of the imagination, and the showcase of women as strong figures.

Haute Couture and ready-to-wear pieces that the majority of the public cannot afford, but that was given public accessibility through the exhibition, I look at the clothes for what they actually are: beautiful masterpieces, disrupting what is considered "acceptable" and "beautiful" in our judgmental and sometimes closed minded society. I am very happy that I got to see it.  It forced me to read every description  on the wall in each room, something that I never do in other exhibits.  Every single statement was written from the point of view of different people, including Gaultier and Madonna.  It made you feel like they were talking directly to you.  In addition, the audience was encouraged  to write mini statements in small index cards about their overall experience with the exhibit.

Congrats to Jean-Paul Gaultier for this exhibit, which was, as he described in one of his statements at the installation, "a show within itself," and to Thierry-Maxine Loriot for his first curated exhibition, which I have to say was a success and a highlight for his career as a Curator.

The video promo for the exhibition was pretty cool and creative.

The photos below follow the organization of the show by room/ section, starting with "The Odyssey" and ending with "Urban Jungle."

"Apparitions" dress from the "Virgins" Collection by Jean Paul Gaultier.  Spring-Summer  2007.
This dress took 200 hours to be made. Projectors were used in "The Odyssey" and "Punk Cancan" sections to bring the faces of the mannequins to life.  The faces being projected were from real people. That also contributed to the interactivity of the show.

Room/ Section: "The Odyssey"

"La Mariée" wedding gown from "Mermaids" collection. Spring-Summer 2008.  This piece was incredibly beautiful and extremely detail. It was definitely artwork.
Room/ Section: "The Odyssey"

From the collection "Around the World in 168 Outfits." Spring-Summer 1989.
Room/ Section: "The Boudoir"

Photo of Madonna in 1990 by Jean-Baptiste Mondino. Madonna worn this "Corset made of vintage 1930s lamé" during her Blond Ambition tour, specifically for the infamous "Like A Virgin" performance, one of the most controversial performances in pop culture.

Polaroids of costume fittings for Madonna's Blond Ambition Tour

Dress from "Dada" collection (left) and male corset on the right.  Women are usually the ones associated with wearing corsets, but it turns out that men have also worn these pieces throughout 
different time periods and various cultures.
Room/ Section: "The Boudoir"

Dress from the "Barbés" Collection. To the right is a photo of  Tanel Bedrossiantz who has modeled and has being a muse for Jean Paul Gaultier throughout his career as a designer.
Room/ Section: "The Boudoir" 

Dress from "Tribute to Amy Winehouse" Collection, 2012.
Room/ Section: "Muses"

From the collection "Rock 'N' Romantic."  Better known as the lead singer of the Gossip, this bodysuit was specifically made for Beth Ditto, who walked down the runway at the end of the show.
Room/ Section: "Muses"

Naomi Campbell wore this suit in 1994, "in Front of the Michou Cabaret, Rue des Martyrs" in Paris.
Room/ Section: "Muses"

This look comes from two different collections.  The elaborate corset with train is from "Ze Parisienne" Collection (Haute Couture) and the leggings with "Flayed" print top' are from 
"Bad Girls - G Spot" collection.
Room/ Section: "Punk Cancan"

From the "Punk Cancan" collection. Spring-Summer 2011 (haute couture).
Room/ Section: "Punk Cancan"

"French Cancan" gown from the "Ze Parisienne" collection.  Spring-Summer 2002. This dress took 210 hours to be made (Haute Couture).
Room/ Section: "Skin Deep"

These two outfits were designed for Madonna's 2006 Confessions Tour. The look at the top was worn 
by Madonna in the first part of the show, and the look on the bottom was worn by the dancers.
Room/ Section: "Skin Deep"

Room/ Section: "Skin Deep"

Video made by me. This part of "Skin Deep" was definitely a little kinky.
Room/ Section: "Skin Deep"

"Movie Stars" (or "Cinema") Collection: "Barbarella" bodysuit.
Room/ Section: "Metropolis"

The corset was made of what looks like film. Room/ Section: "Metropolis"

"Tribute to Africa" collection: "La Mariée" wedding gown. Spring-Summer 2005. This dress took 140 hours to be made (haute couture).
Room/ Section: "Urban Jungle"

From "The Hussars" collection, "La Mariée" wedding gown.  Fall-Winter 2002-2003 (haute couture).
Room/ Section: "Urban Jungle"

From "Chic Rabbis" collection. Fall-Winter 1993-1994 (ready-to-wear).  Many people were talking about this piece the minute they saw them, as if they were looking for these particular pieces. There was controversy surrounding this collection when it was showcased in 1993.

Room/ Section: "Urban Jungle"

For now, until next time on A+F by AM.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

"Vivas en su Jardín"

"Vivas en su Jardín" by Angely Martinez (me), 2014.

Today is International Women's Day, but March is Women's History Month.  To celebrate this beautiful day and this month, I want to dedicate this post to Las Hermanas Mirabal.  Las Hermanas Mirabal were four sisters that fought and died to liberate Dominican Republic from the tyranny of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina. Three of the sisters, Patria, Minerva, and María Teresa were killed on November 25th, 1961, but the government tried to deceive it as an accident. The UN declared November 25th as "International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women."   There was only was sister that survived: Dedé.  She lived her whole life to tell the stories of "Las Mariposas" (The Butterflies) and how they fought for the freedom we have today. Las Hemanas Mirabal also Dedé passed away earlier this year. 

I made the piece above "Vivas en su Jardín" ("Alive in their Garden") as a tribute to Las Hermanas Mirabal, which  is named after Dedé's 2009 book of the same title.  The butterflies hanging in the tree branch by each flower represent all four sisters.

Note: When sharing the artwork, please be kind to give credit.

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