This month saw the arrival of the Barbican Centre’s latest exhibition, and it’s bound to be one of this summer’s cultural highlights. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, which is on until August 25th, delves into the history of the famed designer and revisits some of the most iconic moments of his career.
He has 40 years of star-studded work under his belt, including stage costumes for Kylie Minogue. But it’s definitely Madonna’s corsets and conical bra – designed by Jean Paul Gaultier for her 1990 Blonde Ambition World Tour that most people will really remember him for.
Other style signatures – think Breton stripes, subverted gender divides and a flirtatiously French feel – are scattered throughout the exhibition, and it really makes you realise what a huge influence this single designer has had on fashion and culture. He stands for transgression, celebrating the unconventionally beautiful, and doing things his own way.
The clothes (just over 165 garments are on show) are incredibly beautiful, but a whole host of other materials bring them alive. Footage from fashion shows, music videos, films, dance performances and concerts show how they move, and how they were presented at the time.
The team at the Barbican have even added some Parisian flair to the Barbican Centre’s Martini bar, refurbishing it with furniture designed by Jean Paul Gaultier and serving cocktails inspired by the designer’s career. Sip a Breton, Conical or Enfant Terrible to get the full experience – and you can book them ahead of time when you’re organising your visit.It’s the first major exhibition devoted to Jean Paul Gaultier, so whether you’re a huge fan of his work or just interested to learn more about the Parisian couturier, we recommend you book a ticket now.