The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier- From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk exhibit at the Arkitektur Museet in Stockholm was the best show I've ever seen, hands down. Director, Nathalie Bondil, and curator, Thierry-Maxime Liriot, did a fantastic job.
The retrospective boasts over one hundred couture pieces are on display along with their accompanying accessories. The volume, detail and intensity of the show is just astounding. And it's quite easy to get lost in the maze of over the top extravagance that is couture. Iconic pieces on loan from Madonna from several of her 90's tours can be seen on display and next to them you will find the original sketches by JPG.
Singing mannequins are a super thrill. Many of the life-sized dolls have real faces projected onto their heads which make them seemingly come alive! Speakers set up behind each model enable them to sing and engage with passers-by. One mannequin made in JPG's likeness speaks to the audience in his native French and then again English. He jokingly asks that we do not make fun of his thick accent. Elsewhere in the room, a choir of women break into song a various intervals, each vying for your attention. It's really very entertaining.
The exhibition is divided into six sections, each with its own theme. (The Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier, The Boudouir, Skin Deep, Punk Cancan, Urban Jungle, and Metropolis). As you make your way through the rooms and delve deeper into JPG territory, you really begin to grasp the genius of Gaultier's vision and understand his innovative development. After over 35 years in the business, the niche he's carved out for himself is quite clear, and his influence is undeniable.
If you are in Stockholm any time in the near future I would advise a stop at the Arkitektur Museet to see the show which runs through September 2013. But if not nearby, do not lose heart! This wonderful spectacle is a traveling show and New York and London are next on the list.