Jean Paul Gaultier, Landmark NGV Show – Sidewalk to Catwalk

Kylie Minogue Virgins (or Maddonas) collection, immaculata gown, Jean Paul Gualtier, Haute couture, Spring Summer 2007 Net lace dress with large patterned embroidery and white linen cut outs ©William Baker


The fashion industry in Australia erupted on Thursday morning March 6th at the news a landmark exhibition showcasing the often irreverent, always colourful and completely unconventional designs of French Haute Couture and Pret-a-Porter fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier was coming to Australia.

The show will follow on from its overseas success in cities such as Montreal, New York and London.

It will be held at the National Gallery of Victoria over the Australian Spring and Summer starting on October 7, 2014.

Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV and his team will be enjoying a fashionable adventure in the art of design and style in Melbourne NOW.

If it was possible even more excitement followed, as it was further announced the great man himself would be in Melbourne to launch his blockbuster show.

What a coup for both the Gallery and for Victoria. The fashion crowd will go ‘ga ga’ as many events are planned in celebration.

At Paris Fashion week recently Jean Paul Gaultier launched his latest look delivering a punk punch, with next generation child models mingling with their model mums and grandparents on the catwalk.

There were beards, baubles, bangles and glittering images; all topped off with looks from Spartan style Mohawk hairstyles for daily here and now wear as well as suits for space for those with an eye to the future.

Detail: Paris Fashion Week March 1, 2014 in Paris, France. Photo by Francois Durand, Getty Images

Turning up wearing his own silver spacesuit, Gaultier as always provided some controversial, sometimes outrageous and totally innovative clothes that sported plenty of sequins, silver, flags with biker jackets over tartan ensembles that worked alongside some completely outlandish ensembles.

These were set off by a translucent space style helmet that remained open, looking for all the world like the style of shame dome dogs are forced to wear when recovering from veterinary intervention.

Organised around seven themes, the fashion world of Gaultier at the NGV will take us on an ODYSSEY.

This includes a visit to the BOUDOIR.

It will explore the concept of ideal of beauty through the MUSES, examine the influence of PUNK CANCAN and find out if fashion really goes beyond SKIN DEEP, satisfying those on the sidewalk, as well as those viewing the clothes on the CATWALK in a METROPOLIS, the place Gaultier has made his own.

Finally it will survey the all-new URBAN JUNGLE, where contemporary cultures of the world meet, forming a new aesthetic, one that is thereafter incorporated into the world of haute couture.

Andrej Pejic 2013, Confession of a Child of the Century collection, Jean Paul Gaultier Haute couture, Autumn Winter 2012 – 2013 © Alix Malka

In a world where ethics, a revised set of standards society today will accept, are being integrated back into the globalised fashionable world, the show will reflect how we go about and live our lives in entirely new ways.

Using the latest ‘sidewalk to catwalk’ technology, Gaultier survey’s the influences and virtues of his designs that have extended their reach well beyond the boundaries of a French salon into the realms of art, music and film.

Denis Marleau and Stéphanie Jasmin of UBU/Compagnie de creation of Montreal have been in charge of the production and staging. Accessories, sketches, stage costumes including footage from films, runway shows, concerts and dance performances will help illustrate why Jean Paul Gaultier has become unrivalled in his field, helped through rich collaborations with celebrities in the world of art, design, music and style, including icons such as Andy Warhol.

Gaultier said, “I am honoured and flattered my exhibition will travel to Australia and I am thrilled to be returning to a country that I have visited only once, many years ago”. He went on to further say

“Preparing this exhibition I have realised how strong my ties to Australia are – Nicole Kidman was my first couture client; I have dressed Cate Blanchett on numerous occasions; Kylie is a dear friend and I have had the pleasure of working closely with her on her tours” he said. Then noted “I have also been working for many years with models Gemma Ward, Catherine McNeil, Jarrod Scott, and the list goes on. The people are what make this country great and you Australians certainly excel!” said Jean Paul.

Singer Kylie Minogue performing – North American Tour at Fox Theatre Oakland, California, September 30, 2009. Photo Frank Micelotta, Getty Images)

Kylie Minogue also made a statement to coincide with the announcement:

“As a long-time fan and admirer of Jean Paul Gaultier and his work, it was a great thrill to collaborate with him for my tour costumes… a dear friend and an icon of design, long may he reign! I’m honoured to be part of this amazing exhibition and know visitors will leave elated and inspired.” Said Kylie.

Jean Paul Gaultier 2014 ©2014, Stéphane Sednaoui. All rights reserved

The show will also reveal a full cycle of generational celebrity; a celebration of costume featuring multi-ethnic influences. They include those gleaned from the Bedouin, Orthodox Jewish, Chinese and Russian peoples, while reflecting the exuberance of Spanish Flamenco, the colour and life of Bollywood, as well as the cool spare elegance of the Nordic race.

Born at Paris, France in 1952, Gaultier started work with the then renowned designer Pierre Cardin in 1970 age 18.

He staged his own first show in 1976 gaining critical and commercial success quickly, although he would not have a home for his own fashion house until 1982.

He opened at 6 Rue Vivienne at Paris in 1985 and designed costumes for Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour in 1990.

His signature perfume in a glass bottle shaped like a corseted figure was released in 1994 and he debuted h is couture collection in 1997. In July 2001, the designer was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, a great honour for any Frenchman.

It was 2003 when Jean Paul Gaultier became head designer at Hermès, debuting his first haute-couture collection for autumn/winter 2004-05. He stayed there for seven years.

Today he’s involved in many creative projects, including limited edition bottles for Diet Coke. He is indeed a guru of fashion

Gaultier Show at the Brooklyn Museum

The Jean Paul Gaultier show will open at the National Gallery of Victoria in October.

Featuring over 140 superbly crafted garments spanning his career, the exhibition will also feature the famous conical bras and corsets made for Madonna.

It is sure to be a spectacular overview and includes examples from his haute couture collection, his ready to wear collections and the stage costumes worn by Nicole Kidman at the Oscars and Cate Blanchett at the Golden Globes.

When Tony Ellwood made the announcement at a special preview he said, “Jean Paul Gaultier’s radical designs break down stereotypes and clichés, …this is a unique chance for our visitors to experience the world of Jean Paul Gaultier; a world that extends beyond the catwalk into the realms of art, music and film.”

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2014

The Fashion World of JEAN PAUL GAULTIER:
From the Sidewalk to
the Catwalk

17th October, 2014 to 8th February, 2015

St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Victoria

The first major monograph The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Catwalk to the Sidewalk, published by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts under the direction of Thierry-Maxime Loriot, will accompany the exhibition on this outstanding French designer.

Available at


1 Comment

  • Dianne Cant says:

    I truly am excited about The upcoming Jean Paul Gaultier ‘Sidewalk to Catwalk’ at the NGV in October 2014

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