Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Scenes from the Preview of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

MMFA, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier
Photo by Ingrid MIda 2011
JPG Smart Car
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2011
Press waiting to preview the JPG exhibition
Photo by Ingrid Mida
As I waited outside yesterday at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to enter the press preview of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, I was feeling a bit jaded. Although it has been said that "fashion is for everybody", sometimes that world can be a bit insular. And while my niche in writing about art and fashion is a unique one, it still requires me to have a thick skin.

Red carpet shoes
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2011
Luckily it was not long before my spirits were lifted. At the press conference, Nathalie Bondil, director and chief curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts talked about her vision for the exhibition of Jean Paul Gaultier's work. She saw beyond the provocative and humourous aspects of his work, identifying him as a contemporary artist with an important but subtle message about the dictates of beauty, where "everyone can wear his fashions regardless of size, age, gender, or sexual identity". She thought that this was something society needed to hear and initiated the exhibition which was funded by the museum, (an important distinction in my mind compared to marketing oriented exhibitions funded by the fashion house). Although Ms. Bondil described herself as "not a fashion person", she is both beautiful in looks and spirit. When one well known fashion diva walked in twenty minutes late to the conference and started up the self-serve espresso machine, Ms. Bondil laughed and said "Je me recommence" (I start again). And at the end of the day, I had a one-on-one half hour interview for Fashion Projects with Ms. Bondil and she was as articulate, gracious and fresh as if it was her first interview.

Nathalie Bondil, JPG, and Thierry Maxime Loroit
Photo courtesy of the MMFA
Jean Paul Gaultier being interviewed for TV in the Skin Deep Gallery
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2011
Jean Paul Gaultier laughed often and was both humble and sweet. He said "I am no longer l'enfant terrible. I am just the old terrible."  He worked hard to convey his message that "there is not only one type of beauty".   I'm not sure how many other journalists appreciated his humanist approach to fashion, but it was refreshing to hear it spoken.

On the steps of the MMFA
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2011
I have so much more to share about The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier and will follow up in upcoming posts with links to my review and interview for Fashion Projects as well as photos and video clips.

This exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts opens to the public on Friday, June 17, 2011 and runs until October 2, 2011. It will later travel to Dallas, San Francisco, Madrid and the Netherlands.