A few weeks ago we attended the best fashion show we've ever seen, "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier" exhibit at the Barbican Centre here in London. A creatively staged retrospective covering the past 40 years of his work, the eye-popping exhibit spanned the spectrum from Madonna's iconic cone bra to couture gowns so intricate they brought tears to our eyes. Seriously.
Following a short introductory bio, you are greeted by a series of mannequins decked out in couture Gaultier, (as you would expect), except these mannequins have an added element of the unnerving: animated human faces that literally greet you, make eye contact, have conversations and even pose for photos. One of them told our friend Odessa she looked great today. Another pulled camera-ready pout when I lifted my iphone. In amongst them is Gaultier himself in his signature Parisian stripes, thanking you for coming and introducing the show. As if mannequins weren't creepy enough already. Please nobody go to this exhibit under the influence of ANYTHING. Terrifying. But brilliantly executed nonetheless. It took me a few minutes to be 100% sure they weren't real.
Moving on from the creepyness (until it comes back at night to haunt your dreams), you are treated to a rotating runway of jaw dropping couture pieces..
followed by a stunning showcase of Gaultier's collaborations with some of fashion's most renowned photographers..
...until finally you head upstairs to examine the intricate details of these incredible works of art, all up-close and personal. Here you also have some time to think about who you would have to sleep with / kill to get your hands on that rainbow feather jacket.
Handy placards tell you how many man hours it took to create each garment. *Shiiiiiiiiit....*
All of the yes.
Shoe on shoe pleasure.
While you're there you may as well take a selfie where you blend in best. #leopardprintforever
Here you can watch the charming Gaultier describe his emotional response to the exhibit. "Super excited."
We came away with a broader understanding of the iconic designer's counter-cultural influences, the enormous scope of his work and his undeniable effect on the fashion industry. These pictures are only the tip of the iceberg, so get yourself over to the Barbican where The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier runs until August 25th. This one is not to be missed. Totally a hot sunny day when we went. Zero regrets.