5 Reasons To Visit The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier in Montreal

The first-ever Jean Paul Gaultier retrospective opens this Friday

Unless you’ve been sequestered for the past few months without access to any media of the sort, you know that the first-ever Jean Paul Gaultier retrospective opens at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts this Friday.

If for whatever reason it’s not already marked down in your calendar, here are a few good reasons—gleaned a special media preview attended by FLARE yesterday—to put “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier” at the top of your summer to-do list:
1. Mr. Gaultier will greet you at the top of the stairs. OK, not the real Mr. Gaultier, but one of the numerous talking mannequins created by Quebec-based theatre company UBU using molded heads and video projections to serve as animated guides throughout the exhibition. “The idea of trompe l’oeil is fitting for the Gaultier exhibit,” says Thierry-Maxime Loriot, exhibition curator and general editor of the catalogue, referencing Gaultier’s flair for second-skin designs. Combining 3D video masks and voice recordings, the lifelike figures are a remarkably close second to rubbing shoulders with the real deal. (“It’s not like I have a double to do these press interviews for me,” joked Gaultier during one of his many interviews yesterday. “Oh, wait, maybe I do!”)
 2. The only way to truly appreciate couture is to see it up close. From the finely crafted corsets to the provocative punk-cancan creations, the exhibition provides an unprecedented opportunity to get within arm’s reach of Gaultier’s masterful work. “If you don’t feel the sensual experience of the clothes, then you don’t have the chance to appreciate the quality of such haute couture,” says Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. “Nothing can replace that direct experience.”

3. The best of the best is on display. “It was a labour of love,” says Loriot, who, with the help of Gaultier and his team, selected—and in certain cases hunted down—the nearly 140 ensembles, along with images and video clips, culled from over 150 collections spanning the designer’s 41-year career.

4. It’s the perfect place to sport all those striped styles you’ve been snapping up. With the JPG-branded Smart cars and the giant banners hanging out front, not to mention the numerous exhibition pieces and the gift shop items all bearing Gaultier’s signature stripes, you’ll fit right in wearing the season’s most ubiquitous motif.

5. Everyone will be talking about it. The museum welcomed over 2,000 guests for the grand opening party last night and will receive thousands more visitors in Montreal between June 17 and October 2 before the exhibition hits the road with stops at the Dallas Museum of Art (November 13, 2011–February 12, 2012), the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco (March 24–August 29, 2012), the Fundación Mapfre, Instituto de Cultura in Madrid (September 26–November 18, 2012) and the Kunsthal Rotterdam in the Netherlands (February 9–May 12, 2013).

 The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, at the Montreal Musuem of Fine Arts, Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion (1379 Sherbrooke St. W.). Visit for exhibition details.