Jean Paul Gaultier – From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

Earlier this month the Barbican in London launched the first major exhibition devoted to the celebrated French couturier, Jean Paul Gaultier. Among the many avant-garde pieces on show were a selection of the designer’s cutting-edge denim designs. Here, Stylesight showcases the best indigo creations from the renowned designer.

Over the last 40 years Jean Paul Gaultier has helped shape the fashion landscape with his witty and daring designs. Fascinated by world cultures, countercultures and the beauty borne of difference, the superstar Parisian designer is responsible for chartering a new kind of fashion in both the way it is created and worn. Most famous for his subvertion of fashion codes and breaking of boundaries between cultures and sexes, Gaultier has twisted and transformations everything from cabaret, punks, fetish wear and military, juxtaposing these seemingly opposing themes into stunning creations that have earned him a place in fashion history.

Denim is one fabric that the designer has constantly returned to and reappropriated throughout his career, remixing with his signature style that at once pays tribute to its origins while giving it a contemporary identity. Among the 165 cutting-edge couture and ready-to-wear garments on show at the Barbican’s From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk exhibition, were a selection of these denim creations most of which have never been exhibited before.

London’s punk scene provided much inspiration for Gaultier throughout the ’80s and of course denim was key to this look, so many pieces feature a destroyed and remade aesthetic, as well as heavy yet ornate embellishment in Gaultier’s signature style. Archive pieces included items as far back as his early Spring/Summer 1984 prêt-à porter collection, to his heyday Spring/Summer 1994 Tattoos collection, through to more recent shows like his She’s got the look…alike from Spring/Summer 2013. Statement pieces include a feather embellished gown, denim corset, a tattoo beaded jacket as well as fishnet infused trucker jackets and jeans. The designer collaborated with Levi’s for many of the collections, with the iconic American brand providing the French designer with fabric to work his magic.

The exhibition runs from April 9, 2014 through August 25, 2014. Find out more information here.


We also loved the styling that Jean Paul Gaultier did for Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” and also Gaultier’s own track ” How to do That”.

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