John Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk



Anyone interested in the art of fashion should not miss this outstanding exhibition which spans the designer’s 40 years in fashion and includes 140 garments, plus fabulous photographs, great videos,  perfume bottles, a moving catwalk and talking mannequins.  Disconcerting at first, but you will get used to it.  It’s all so wonderfully edgy.

Often described as “l’enfant terrible”,  JPG revolutionised fashion through experimentation and innovation.  His first collection in 1976 featured biker jackets worn with tutus which now seem main stream.


Biker-style jacket, bustier, tulle skirt – Spring/Summer 1977

Similarly, many of the design features on display are evident in the fashion we see around us now.  Don’t forget to read the date on the description plates and marvel at how seriously avant-garde Gaultier is!  He pushed the boundaries of the accepted norm and others followed.


First corset dress – Dada Collection 1983

Dramatic and often theatrical, the most striking aspect of these creations is the architectural and sculptured way in which they are constructed.  The embellishments, colours, textures and use of a huge range of materials is breathtaking.  Here is artistry and skill of incredible breadth coming together to create these amazing outfits.

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The Bride – The Hussars Collection 2002-2003

Fashion as an art form?  You won’t doubt it after having seen this exhibition.  There is so much to take in, it’s hard to walk away.


The Mermaid’s Ball – 2008:  Hinged corset embellished with jewels, shells and mother of pearl; chiffon and silk crinkle crepe skirt with lame lace overlay, latex scales  – Courtesy:   mytheaboutthings.blogspot

Whether designing corsetry or exploring gender diversity clothing, he reached out to embrace multi ethnic mixing with an artistry that is front and centre.




Top to Bottom – Chain mail embroidered with pearls & beads worn by Beyoncé,  Wheat and braided straw corset,  Pleated silk taffeta corset

And to finish off – if you have any doubts that JPG only designs in the extreme , check out the last exhibit, the Edwina gown, a  black jersey open-backed dress worn by Cate Blanchett to the 72nd Academy Awards in 2000.  A sculptured masterpiece!


The exhibition is supported by an excellent multi media guide and is divided into sections – The Odyssey, The Boudoir, Punk Can Can, Skin Deep, Metropolis, Urban Jungle and finally, Muses ( featuring outfits worn by  our very own Gemma Ward, Cate Blanchet, Nicole Kidman and Kylie Minogue).

As with most exhibitions, the NGV gift shop features some great take home goodies.  You can select from a wide range of stationery items, bags, umbrellas, jewellery, towels and mugs, Tshirts and leather accessories.  As you would expect there is also a stunning catalogue of the exhibition.  Extra temptations include French candles and perfumery.

It’s time to indulge all your senses!

A coffee break can be had for the weary, immediately outside the exhibition.  A good place to contemplate your gift shop purchases or browse your newly bought catalogue.


Early Bird parking underneath the gallery is a great option – in before 10.00am and out before 6.00 pm – $16.   Alternatively, Yarra Trams stop directly at the entrance to the gallery.  Arriving at 10.00 when the gallery opens is a great time for viewing.  The exhibition closes on 8 February 2015.

For further information visit the NGV website by clicking here