If the name Jean Paul Gaultier is not immediately familiar to you, you definitely know his clothes. He is the man responsible for Madonna’s conical bras during her 1990 Blonde Ambition Tour.
In the time I’ve worked at Mamamia I’ve had many pinch-worthy moments, but none as huge as when I met the man himself.
I was invited to attend the opening of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Catwalk to Australia, a retrospective in his honour, at the National Gallery of Victoria.
I thought I’d get the opportunity with a group of other journalists to ask him maybe one question if that, but I was shocked when he sat down with us (me plus two other journos) for just shy of an hour. He was friendly, warm, sometimes hard to understand (thick French accent), and generous. Afterwards he paused for photos, signed our catalogues and kissed us on the cheeks – twice, in the French way, naturally.
Gaultier, like Mamamia, has always championed diverse models. He is a huge fan of Australia’s first transgender model, (she now identifies as a woman) Andrej Pejic, and was instrumental in launching her career. But he’s been doing it longer than most. When other designer were using blonde, blue-eyed models in the 80s, he sought anything but. He placed casting calls for his catwalk shows in the classifieds that read:
“Non-conformist designer seeks unusual models —the conventionally pretty need not apply”
Taking in the exhibition is obviously my number one reason why I think you should visit Melbourne right now, but I found four other reasons that make the trip worthwhile. It wasn’t hard, and they mostly revolve around food.
1. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Catwalk to Australia.
This one is obviously going to appeal to fashion lovers, and if you are one of those expect to be there for more than a few hours. There’s a lot to take in, but if you’re taking a partner or friend for whom it might not be their thing, don’t worry they are going to love it too.
Inside you’ll find stage costumes worn by Beyonce, Madonna’s infamous conical bra corset, the gown Nicole Kidman accepted her Best Actress Oscar in and Cate Blanchett’s red carpet gowns – including the black and gold leaf-jewel, open backed black dress that put her on the world’s fashion radar back in 2000. It’s heaven, go now before it closes.
On until the 8th February, at the National Gallery of Victoria.
2. The crab spaghettini at Fatto.