Saturday, August 04, 2012

Gaultier at the DeYoung

I recently attended the Jean Paul Gaultier show at the DeYoung museum in San Francisco. JPG has been an inspiration to me since I first noticed his outlandish work in the film The Fifth Element. Through the subsequent years I have followed his runway work. As a character designer/concept designer, and more broadly, as an artist, I found the Gaultier show to be a revelation. Instead of looking at his work as the taste of the season, I could look at his career and see where he took inspiration over the course of decades. I realized that his work is reflective of something I love about the French in general; their ability to mix the old and the new into something fresh and exciting while seeming somehow timeless.

To be sure, some of Gaultier's work has an "of its time" feeling, but a substantial amount still feels very exciting. His work seems to be about hard contrasts. Grotesque vs Elegance, proletariat utilitarianism vs upper-class debauchery, punk vs opulence, etc.

For my money, I think most of the designs I saw at the show were well beyond anything anyone in the concept/entertainment industry is doing in terms of "pushing" forward. There is an intellect and an irreverence to the designs that was simply inspiring. I would highly recommend anyone with any interest in fashion, costume/character design or just interesting art, go see the show!

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