Last night we were invited to attend the opening night of the final exhibit of Jean Paul Gaultier’s vintage dresses. This worldwide exhibit has been travelling for the past 5 years, to finally end in Montreal, a place that is dear to the designer. We were greeted with rings with “Love is Love” stenciled onto them; ingenious way to create an entry “ticket” that represents the essence of the show. As we waited to enter the exhibit, we mingled in the MBAMTL verrerie with some wine, popcorn, a DJ playing a set of wedding favourites, and the bar decked out as a wedding cake.
As with any fashion show, you finish with your masterpieces: the wedding dresses. These dresses are exquisite, finely crafted, with some having over 400 hours of work put in. Jean Paul Gaultier paid homage to Montreal by closing his world tour with Montreal, and we were some of the first ones to witness it. Furthermore, the Gaultier fashion house is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, so there is nothing more fitting (pun intended!) than to end with a bang! The room itself screams wedding: the platform on which stand the mannequins is shaped as a tiered cake, with the biggest and fanciest of dresses at the top.
This particular selection of dresses and outfits celebrates every type of union. Some of these dresses were designed prior to gay marriage being legal in France, and worldwide: Jean Paul Gaultier has never been one to shy away from expressing his views through his work. Many of these dresses channel his support of diversity by challenging stereotypes by designing dresses that portray an inclusive vision of society.
The “enfant terrible of fashion” is known for his use of stripes, pointy bustiers, and bust shaped perfume bottles, as well as his daring fashion sense. The selection of gowns and suits demonstrate his daring to combine various textures and fabrics, as well as paying homage to cultural diversity. His “61 one ways to say I do” collection features many same-sex couples; his “To Bi or not to Bi” collection shows dresses with two different fabrics and cuts. On one of his runways, he had the audacity to have a model in a wedding dress with a baby in her arms, challenging the idea of chastity and “saving oneself for marriage”: a couple of the models on display had babies… one dress even had a bedazzled (Swarovski crystals no less) baby backpack.
Jean Paul Gaultier has also created a couple of dresses with particular influential artists in mind: a pantsuit inspired by David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes, a gown inspired by Amy Winehouse, and a particular lacy piece by Kylie Minogue.
Marie was a little apprehensive to go see this exhibit; according to her, she doesn’t have a very good fashion sense and even less of a clue of who is who in the fashion world. I was extremely excited, a good part of that excitement due to the fact that I had missed Jean Paul Gaultier’s exhibit in Montreal a couple of years back.
It is no secret that we have been talking about getting married; we even have a rough idea of what we would want for the ceremony and reception, but we are both still absolutely unsure of what we would wear to our wedding. Now, we clearly will never be able to afford a gown and suit made by Jean Paul Gaultier, but we were both in awe of his work, the craftsmanship and the message behind each and every one of his creations.
On a side note, Marie is not totally sure that she would let me wear one of his extreme headpieces that remind one of the chorus line girls at doing the can-can, but I can still dream.
In the meanwhile, I’ll be saving my pennies until I’m able to perhaps afford a second-second hand vintage piece of his!
You can visit this exhibit until October 9th at the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal. Link for tickets is right here.