Sunday, 13 April 2014

Gaultier Details

Last week heralded the much anticipated arrival of Jean Paul Gaultier's touring exhibition at London's Barbican, showcasing the most exciting creations ever to emerge from Maison Gaultier.

Having had the privilege of working on Monsieur Gaultier's couture pieces as a bead fairy and a major lifelong fascination with couture embroidery, beading and lacework techniques, I had been eagerly awaiting the first weekend of the exhibition so that I could get up close and personal.

Since its launch in Montreal I have seen many articles relating to the show so I wanted to just zoom in on what were some of the key details that caught my magpies eye and made my heart jump into disco beats.

Ranging from from his famed twists on the classic nautical stripe to the most exquisitely pleated mille-feuille chiffon shield dress that made my eyes pop out on stalks. Geometric Barbarella-inspired waists sat alongside jet-encrusted, exoskeletal-armoured corsetry. Delicate ethnic embroidery and mind-blowing beadwork called my name at every turn and gorgeous plumage jackets had me contorting my body into complex yoga poses just to be able to get an eyeful of the individually hand-stitched feathers and fine craftsmanship. 

The exhibition held me hypnotically in its tightly laced grip for my entire visit. I'm still dreaming of bevel edged sequins and chantilly lace so much so, that I may have to visit again. 


9th April to 25th August
Barbican Art Gallery


  1. Dear Paul

    As one having a vested interest from your days as a bead fairy (I love that the self imposed title) you would see so much more than most. JPG was a master and knew the feminine body. His originality amazes me
    I hope I get to London during the exhibition.
    Thanks for a delightful post

  2. HOW gorgeous!!!
    This is a REAL Art!
    I want I can being there and see all these creations in a real life!
    Thankyou for share,Paul:)


  3. Oh Paul, I would love to visit this exhibition………perhaps later this year I can make it when in London for a short visit!
    It's truly amazing what the adventurous spirit can envision and then actually create from fabric and trimmings. Having grown up with a seamstress mum who actually did work on the delightful Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's clothes, including a hand-beaded Ascot gown in the '20's, when a Bond Street apprenticed dressmaker……….I have always loved clothes. If only I had photos as well as the stories she shared with me when a youngster, sigh!

    Lovely post - thanks for sharing. More about your own 'bead fairy' days have me interested, any chance?

    Happy weekend and week ahead.

  4. I saw this exhibition at the de Young in San Francisco and found it utterly fascinating. Besides the Alexander McQueen exhibition, it is one of the best I have seen. When I reached the end of the galleries, I did not want to exit via the gift shop!

  5. Dear Paul,
    I envy you (I seldom have that feeling) for having worked with him. I love Gaultier so much - thank you for drawing attention to the Barbican exposition - I hope that I will be in London before August - and then I know where I will go. He did some fine designs for Madonna, too.

  6. OMG, a fashion post from Mr P! I'm booking my ticket to London now. I missed this Exhibit in Montréal. This looks so fascinating. I adore Mr Jean Paul Gaultier. He always seem so happy in public. Very Parisian style. Can you please see this Exhibit again with moi Mr P? :)

  7. Hi Paul,

    I so enjoyed seeing your photographs of Gaultier's exhibition! I loved it too!!! I love the way you captured the details in the clothes, must have been because you were a bead fairy. They have eye for details, don't they? Your life before the Magical Christmas Wreath company sounds fairy, I mean very, exiting. work in Paris for mr Gaultier......

    When the exhibit was in Rotterdam the whole town was covered in blue and white stripes. Such fun. I posted about the exhibit on my blog too. You will probably have seen it. It's one of the best I have seen in years!

    Happy week ahead!

    Madelief x

  8. This is wonderful stuff, Paul! I think that like you, I would spend hours looking at these fantastic creations, seeing them not just as clothes, but as real works of art! I have to admit... that black and white dress is so "me" and just so beautiful, with those beautiful pleated stripes in black and white, my colours! Those lines, joint at back, to make that fantastic cascade of "ebony and ivory" fabric, like the tail of a beautiful fish. He knows how to make a woman feel beautiful and special! He loves dressing a body and turning it into a "Living work of art" (who said it? You know...) Yes, I think La Marchesa Casati would have worn his creations!

    Sorry I don't know the appropriate language when it comes to fashion and dressmaking, as, unfortunately, that is one skill I don't have. But I understand beauty and there is a lot of it, in the pictures you posted. That black hat, is so huge and beautiful, and the cuff on that sleeve is gorgeous. Look at the beadwork!

    This is truly sensual stuff, Paul, with more than just a touch of the "Madame" you mention, at times. In fact... connection!!!!



  9. Truly amazing Paul-- such textures and detail. I'm sure your life as a bead fairy has given you added insight and appreciation for these creations. You photographed them beautifully--

  10. Damn ... can't believe I have just returned from London and didn't know this was on. I would have loved to have seen these amazing creations ...

  11. Hello Paul, 'up close and personal' these exhibits must be absolutely wonderful.
    Definitely one for the 'to do' list this summer.
    Hope you have a lovely day,
    Liz x

  12. I too saw this in SAN FRANCISCO……… was breath taking!

  13. Paul, These really are amazing art. I cannot believe the gorgeous beading. The photos are so good that I want to reach out and run my fingers on these pieces! Love to know more about what you did when you worked for him. That must have been fabulous. Thanks for sharing because I missed this in San Francisco. Makes me dream of wearing such a creation one day, but perhaps not the last one. ;)
    xx Kim
    p.s. Love the new watermark!