The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier
From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
Barbican Art Gallery, London
9 April – 25 August 2014

Media View, Tuesday 8 April 2014
Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry-Maxime Loriot
Interview highlights available for download:


The exhibition is
organised by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with Maison Jean Paul Gaultier, Paris.
Media Partner: Harper’s Bazaar. Café and Bakery Partner: Paul. Exhibition supported by Roche Bobois

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is the first major exhibition devoted to the celebrated French couturier. Dubbed fashion’s enfant terrible by the press from the time of his first catwalk shows in the 1970s, Jean Paul Gaultier is arguably one of the most important fashion designers of recent decades. This theatrical installation of around 165 cutting-edge couture and ready-to-wear garments explores Gaultier's fashion world, from his witty and boundary-pushing designs to his ceaseless interest in society, identity and a beauty borne of difference. The exhibition includes costumes for film and performance including iconic pieces such as the conical bra and corsets Madonna wore during her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour, stage costumes designed for Kylie Minogue as well as pieces created for the films of Pedro Almodóvar among others. The exhibition opens at Barbican Art Gallery on 9 April 2014.

Celebrating the designer’s daring inventiveness, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk traces the influences that have marked Gaultier’s creative development from the streets of Paris to the DIY aesthetic of punk or fantasies of science fiction. It includes eight thematic sections; The Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier, Punk Cancan, Muses, The Boudoir, Metropolis, Eurotrash, Skin Deep and Urban Jungle. The exhibition also features a wealth of photography by collaborators such as Miles Aldridge, David LaChapelle, Peter Lindbergh, Pierre et Gilles, Herb Ritts, Stéphane Sednaoui , Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol as well as footage of catwalk presentations, concerts, music videos, films and dance performances. At the Barbican the Muses section has been expanded, featuring models, musicians and performers that have inspired Gaultier from Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Erin O’Connor, to Beth Ditto and Dita Von Teese, with newly commissioned portraits by British artist Annie Kevans. Other highlights include the Spitting Image puppet of Jean Paul Gaultier, on show for the first time in a UK gallery and dramatic metre-high Mohawk head pieces especially created by renowned hair stylist Odile Gilbert .

Jean Paul Gaultier said : “I am super excited that the show is coming to London for two reasons. The first reason is that I always want to go to London, because London, for me, is a special place. In England I’ve got so many memories and I’ve had so many experiences and the English were the first ones to come to my shows and appreciate my fashion. If there is one place other than Paris that I should like to live in, it is London. I’ve got so many connections with London and feel at home there, even sometimes more than Paris. I like the spirit, the humour and little adventures that were funny, like Eurotrash. The second thing is the Barbican. It's an honour for me because it's a wonderful gallery and a wonderful place with extraordinary architecture and I think that showing my work there will be beautiful.”

Jane Alison, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican, said:
“Jean Paul Gaultier is a true artist. I couldn’t be more delighted that we are able to showcase his work at the Barbican. What comes across in his work, first and foremost, is its sheer exuberance and creativity and also the way in which Gaultier embraces and celebrates diversity. This is a show for London – it is here that we understand the importance of street style. And it’s a show for now – the spirit of inclusivity that Gaultier encapsulates, is crucial for our times.
This glorious show builds on previous Barbican exhibitions dedicated to celebrating the art of avant-garde couture; Jam: Style+Music+Media in 1996, The House of Viktor & Rolf in 2008 and most recently, Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion in 2010. “

Interested in the world's cultures and countercultures, Gaultier has conceived a new kind of fashion in both the way it is made and worn. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier reveals how through twists, transformations, transgressions and reinterpretations, he not only erases the boundaries between cultures but also the sexes, redefining the idea of androgyny or subverting hyper-sexualized fashion codes.

Designed as an installation rather than a conventional fashion retrospective, this theatrically staged exhibition presents pieces created between 1970 and now, many of which are on show in Britain for the first time. It features over 30 custom-made mannequins wearing remarkable wigs and headdresses by Odile Gilbert, founder of the Atelier 68 in Paris, that come alive with interactive faces, surprising visitors with their lifelike presence. Poetic and playful, the production and staging of this dynamic audio-visual element is the work of Denis Marleau and Stéphanie Jasmin of UBU/Compagnie de création of Montreal. Jolicoeur International of Québec designed all the custom-made mannequins.

Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, said:

“By creating this exhibition, I wanted to show the profound humanity that inspires Jean Paul Gaultier’s work and share – beyond the virtuosity of haute couture and the couturier’s unbridled imagination – the values of tolerance and respect that unite us. To date, over a million people have visited The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier – his biggest ‘fashion show’ ever – in this phenomenal tour to eight cities around the world… And it’s not over yet! But for London, a city at the heart of his creativity, we wanted the exhibition to be bigger and better than ever.”

This critically acclaimed touring show, initiated and produced by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts under the direction of Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator, and Thierry-Maxime Loriot, curator of the exhibition, in collaboration with Maison Jean Paul Gaultier, Paris, has already been seen by more than one million visitors in North America and Europe. The Barbican is delighted to present the exhibition in the UK as part of its international tour, in a city that continues to inspire Jean Paul Gaultier and his artistic vision. The exhibition opens on 9 April at Barbican Art Gallery, and is accompanied by an events programme and film season.


Notes to Editors

Press Information

For further information, images or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Ann Berni, Media Relations Manager
+44 (0) 207 382 7169,
Ariane Oiticica, Media Relations Officer
+44 (0) 207 382 6162,

Public Information

Barbican Art Gallery, London, 0845 120 7550,
Opening hours: Sunday to Wednesday, 10am – 6pm
Thursday to Saturday, 10am – 9pm
Bank Holidays: 12noon – 6pm
Ticket prices: £7.25 – £14.50, Under 12s: Free


The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is organised by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with Maison Jean Paul Gaultier, Paris. The originating curator of the exhibition is MMFA’s Thierry-Maxime Loriot. The Barbican Art Gallery presentation is organised with Leila Hasham and Catherine Ince, co-curators, Barbican Art Gallery.
Media Partner: Harper’s Bazaar. Café and Bakery Partner: Paul. Exhibition supported by Roche Bobois

Events Programme

The exhibition is accompanied by a rich programme of events, running from April to August 2014. Highlights include an ‘In Conversation’ between Jean Paul Gaultier and the legendary Fashion Editor formerly of the International New York Times and newly appointed as International Vogue Editor Suzy Menkes while Harper’s Bazaar Editor-in-Chief Justine Picardie talks to Exhibition Curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot in an exclusive reader’s evening. Also featured in the programme is Punk Couture, a workshop where participants learn the fine craft of couture embroidery from the expert tutors of the Royal School of Needlework; and a complementary exhibition of Jean Paul Gaultier’s graphic design work, from the early 1980s to today, at the Fashion Space Gallery at the London College of Fashion. Barbican Film presents The Film World of Jean Paul Gaultier, a special film season curated by the celebrated French couturier himself.

Full events press release available from the Barbican Newsroom:


The exhibition is accompanied by the first major monograph on the French designer, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, published by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Abrams under the direction of Thierry-Maxime Loriot. This award-winning, 424-page catalogue contains more than 550 illustrations and photographs; an introductory essay by Suzy Menkes, International Vogue Editor ; fifty exclusive interviews conducted by Loriot with friends and collaborators of the couturier (Marion Cotillard, Catherine Deneuve, Boy George, Nicole Kidman, Madonna, Martin Margiela, Helen Mirren, and Dita Von Teese among others); and two interviews with Gaultier himself.

Exhibition App

The first ever app to explore Jean Paul Gaultier’s colourful career. It includes an introductory video by Gaultier; exploration of key themes from the exhibition; insights from exhibition curators on the impact of Gaultier on the world of fashion, as well as behind the scenes at Odile Gilbert’s Paris studio.
Download this free app and use it as a multimedia guide before, during and after the exhibition.

Bar Gaultier

Bar Gaultier serves champagne and fashion-inspired cocktails. The Barbican’s Martini bar has been refurbished with exclusive furniture designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, generously loaned by Roche Bobois. Open 5.30-9pm for the duration of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. Bar Gaultier cocktail menu.

Barbican Art Gallery

One of the leading art spaces in the UK, Barbican Art Gallery presents the best of international visual art with a dynamic mix of art, architecture, design, fashion and photography. From acclaimed architects to Turner prize-winning artists, the Gallery exhibits innovators of the 20th and 21st centuries: key players who have shaped developments and stimulated change. The Curve is dedicated to a vibrant programme of new commissions, created by leading international artists in direct response to this distinctive gallery space.

Barbican Newsroom

All Barbican Centre press releases, news announcements and the Media Relations team’s contact details are listed on our website at

About the Barbican

A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over 1.5 million people pass through the Barbican’s doors annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured and more than 300 staff work onsite.
The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, the Pit, Cinemas One, Two and Three, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory , conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.
The Barbican is home to Resident Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra ; Associate Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra ; Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia , and Associate Producer Serious . Our Artistic Associates include Boy Blue Entertainment , Cheek by Jowl and Michael Clark Company . International Associates are Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam , New York Philharmonic , Los Angeles Philharmonic , Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig and Jazz at Lincoln Center .

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