Croissant, “marinière”, French songs… no doubt, I was in the right place, waiting for the press conference. I took a chair, impatient to hear from one of the most inspiring and visionary French designers. Wow! Surprise, I couldn’t believe it, he was just there, Jean-Paul Gaultier, sit in front of me, smiling and putting a large smile on my face.
A “bonjour ça va ?”, few words exchanged in French, and a selfie together confirmed what I always believed… Jean-Paul Gaultier is abso(fashion)lutely lovely, accessible and humble.
Interested in fashion or not, we can’t deny the talent of this man. He has always been an important face in the fashion world industry. What an honour for Australia to see that he picked Melbourne to exhibit his most important creations: “The fashion world of Jean-Paul Gaultier: From the sidewalk to the catwalk”.
Passionate like all self-respecting French people, he shared his experience with a hint of humour and an irresistible French accent. I should cross the planet to meet this talented designer and discover that we have something in common: this crazy love and curiosity for Australia.
Jean-Paul Gaultier, virtuoso of fashion
Through his exhibition, this virtuoso of fashion shows a society full of craziness, impertinence, eccentricity and sensitivity. For Jean-Paul Gaultier, there is no discrimination, opening a door to different beauties.
“I want to represent what the society is now.”
He plays with different cultures, about a hyper sexualised world: androgyny, transgender… We remember when he chose this beautiful Aussie model Andreja Pejic, born a boy and became a girl.
He loves difference and this is reflected in this exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. First of all, this difference is a mix between couture and a world of derision, but also through the choice of materials and models.
Whilst the Prêt-à-Porter industry is often perceived as an inaccessible or even arrogant world: Jean-Paul Gaultier operates within this world with both a welcoming and open attitude colluding with Tony Ellwood, director NGV and Nathalie Bondil, director of Musée des Beaux-Arts in Montréal who had “the privilege to work directly with the artist and not a brand”.
Jean-Paul Gaultier again plays this natural difference, with an irresistible and relentless “joie de vivre” (exhilaration) and optimism that nothing seems to tarnish.
Definitely audacious, he draws his inspiration from the world and Australia alike discovering muses evrywhere. We can’t forget his work for Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchet, Kylie Minogue, Gemma Ward, Andreja Pejic, Catherine McNeil or Alexandra Agoston.
“You have beauty in Australia, if you don’t know it, we know it”. As a French woman in Australia, I sympathise with his viewpoint where everything is fresh and new in this country; as he explained, this lucky country where you can feel energy and desire of creativity.
Jean-Paul Gaultier dresses our fantasies and imagination. He disturbs, he calls our mind, he captivates and he reveals us by his creations.
I would like simply to finish with his sentence “In reality we are looking for Love and for me it’s with my work”. So yes Jean-Paul, I could feel this love when I roamed in the different galleries of NGV, all this generosity when you decided to start this exhibition, this unbelievable message: we have to accept the difference and do not be ashamed to be ourselves. He has abolished all the difference and it’s certainly one of the strongest messages he can leave us.
If you are in Melbourne, please take this time to visit this exhibition and enter in Jean-Paul Gaultier’s world.
“Open your eyes and find beauty where you normally don’t expect it.”