Friday, 2 May 2014

Jean Paul Gaultier at the Barbican; Big and Beautiful

I have never forgotten watching Jean Paul Gaultier’s appearance on the Generation Game. I was just a wee nipper and watched in awe as he taped swathes of bin bags to create the most beautiful dresses I had ever seen. Having suspected he was a brilliant designer, I followed his work over the years throughout fashion school and beyond, collecting memorabilia (Coke bottles!) and looking at photos. His genius is truly confirmed by his exhibition at the Barbican. Initially perturbed by the ticket fee (over £14.00!) I didn’t regret a penny when I entered the first room. Boring mannequins were replaced with slightly creepy talking statues and there were enough incredible outfits to keep even the most seasoned fashionista enthralled. My favourites included a leopard beaded ballgown and a gorgeous ribbon corset. Celeb spotters will love it; you can see Kylie and Madonna’s stage outfit along with pieces worn by supermodels, Dita Von Teese and many more. It’s not just about pointy corsets either; there are some stunning supporting sketches and a room dedicated to Jean Paul’s TV work such as Eurotrash and an appearance in Absolutely Fabulous. I didn’t know that he released a single either! It’s called ‘How to Do That’ and it came out in the late 80s. You can watch it in the same room. 

The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition is as huge as it is brilliant; there’s plenty to keep you occupied for at least an hour or two. If it wasn’t so pricy, I’d go back. I think Londoners have it pretty good in general though -  most of our museums have free entry – so maybe I should stop complaining and start exploring more. 

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