I, like many people of my generation, would often watch Eurotrash on a Friday night and titter at Jean Paul Gaultier and his straight-man sidekick, Antoine de Caunes, as they were spectacularly rude and offensive but in lovely French accents. Well worth looking up on YouTube for a blast from the past. It made the designer, Jean Paul Gaultier a household name; it’s hard to believe he is now 60 years old.
Why this trip down memory lane? Well, Gaultier has an exhibition on at the Brooklyn Museum showing an extensive retrospective of his work. It’s an hour long trek from here involving three subway trains (one extra to avoid the steps with the buggy) down to Brooklyn, but helpfully the subway stop on the 2/3 line is right outside the museum. A relief in the pouring rain today. I wrote about the museum a while back, where someone had removed the entire front staircase from the grand facade and stuck a glass monstrosity on the front, but I’ve decided that’s OK, because it’s buggy friendly and the atrium is great for toddlers who like to run. A lot.
The exhibition is fabulous. They have, as you would expect, all of the mannequins wearing frocks, which are all very elaborate and mostly bonkers. But what’s unusual here is that they have used projectors to beam a face onto the heads of the models and they really look like they are talking, breathing, blinking. It’s quite unsettling. Even more unsettling is the model of Gaultier himself as he rambles on in French and English on a podium all by himself. Most of his designs are crazy, s&M style and over the top, but some of the craftsmanship on the frocks is incredible.
Have a look at my pics and see for yourself. It finishes on Sunday, so if you’re in New York for half term, be adventurous and go.