The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
17 June – 2 October 2011
Curated by Nathalie Bondil and Thierry-Maxime Loirot

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is the first exhibition dedicated to the famous French couturier.


Created and toured by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in partnership with the House of Jean Paul Gaultier, this exhibition promises to immerse visitors in the couturier’s creative world.


More than 175 pieces of haute couture and prêt-à-porter clothing, as well as accessories from the period 1976 to 2016 are being presented to the public using innovative scenography created by Agence Projectile with help from Sandra Gagné from the MMFA, with the added panache of avant-garde theatrical company UBU and its artistic directors Denis Marleau and Stéphanie Jasmin, responsible for the audiovisual effects used to animate the faces of 30 mannequins provided by Jolicœur International.


By projecting some very special videos onto them, the mannequins appear to ‘talk’ to visitors as part of an extraordinary multimedia experience.


Artist Odile Gilbert was tasked with adorning each of them in unique style with a headdress, wig or other spectacular hairpiece specially crafted for the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition.


Other creations, not to mention documents, videos and photographs from the archives will also be exhibited for the first time, many of which are the fruit of various artistic collaborations.


These collaborations have incorporated a wide range of disciplines close to the couturier’s heart, including: cinema (Pedro Almodovar, Luc Besson, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, etc.), fashion photography (Peter Lindbergh, David LaChapelle, Richard Avedon, Mario Testino, Pierre & Gilles, etc.), music (costumes for Kylie Minogue, Madonna, Mylène Farmer, etc. on their world tours), dance (Angelin Prejlocaj, Régine Chopinot, Maurice Béjart, etc.) and pop culture in general (television programmes, video clips, etc.).


Going further than a retrospective, this exhibition has been a creative process in itself, charting the extraordinary world of Jean Paul Gaultier, not chronologically, but thematically, around his greatest preoccupations: The Odyssey, Boudoir, Skin Deep, Punk Cancan, Urban Jungle, Metropolis, etc.


To date, the exhibition has been admired by over 2 million visitors across 12 locations around the world.


Receiving its world premiere in Montreal in 2011, it then went to Dallas, followed by San Francisco, Madrid, Rotterdam, Stockholm, New York, London and Melbourne, before arriving at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2015 and moving on to Munich after that then finally ending up in Seoul, South Korea.


‘On account of his humanity, I would like to dedicate an exhibition to Jean Paul Gaultier more than any other couturier. Beyond the technical virtuosity stemming from the exceptional expertise in various skills involved in producing haute couture, the unbridled imagination and the artistic collaborations going back years, it offers an insight into society, a crazy mixed up world that is at once delicate, funny and cheeky, in which everyone is free to be who they want to be, a world without discrimination, a unique ‘fusion couture’. At Jean Paul Gaultier, there is a real generosity of spirit and a strong social message beneath the humour and levity. It’s a deeply affecting humanist aesthetic.’ – Nathalie Bondil (source: press release from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, April 2011).


‘When The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition ends in Seoul in June 2016, it will be exactly five years since it first opened at the MMFA. Who could have imagined the incredible journey it has been? Over the course of these past five years, the MMFA has transported, installed and dismantled all 14 tonnes of exhibition material a total of 12 times, travelling all over the world and being critically acclaimed everywhere it goes. A record success among fashion exhibitions! Thanks to everyone for their help and especially to Jean Paul! – Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the MMFA, which designed, developed and toured the exhibition.


‘Given the inexhaustible scope of Jean Paul Gaultier’s inspiration, we have been able to adapt and revisit the exhibition for different venues on four continents, expressing the designer’s generosity and open mindedness at each of the 12 locations – a designer who has been celebrating the beauty of difference, whether cultural, aesthetic or social through his work for almost 40 years now’ – Thierry-Maxime Loriot, curator of the exhibition.


The exhibition also gave rise to the publication of an eponymous book published by the MMFA’s scientific press in collaboration with Les Editions de la Martinière in 2011. The catalogue spanning 424 pages has picked up various prizes, including the main prize for a fashion book, awarded by those on the master’s in fashion design course at the International Fashion Design & Business School in Lyon. It is available in three languages (English, French and Spanish).


A second book, published by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, has been produced in French with help from La Réunion des Musées Nationaux. An English version was produced for the exhibition in Seoul. This veritable portfolio of artwork incorporates 80% new images, previously unpublished for the most part, thanks to contributions from the most famous photographers (Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Peter Lindbergh, Paolo Roversi, Mario Testino, David LaChapelle, Helmut Newton), as well as many artists (Roe Etheridge, Pierre & Gilles, Nan Goldin, Andy Warhol, Liu Bolin, Jean-Paul Goude, Annie Kevans, Izima Kaoru). The book is available in three languages (French, English and German). (288 pages, 220 illustrations, under the direction of Thierry-Maxime Loriot.)


In total, six different volumes will have been produced off the back of this record-breaking touring exhibition.




The exhibition was designed, developed and toured by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in partnership with the House of Jean Paul Gaultier.


Montreal Museum of Fine Arts


Mannequin animation

Denis Marleau and Stéphanie Jasmin, Théâtre Ubu


Odile Gilbert – Atelier(68)


Jolicoeur International

© Rainer Torrado

© Stanislas Alleaume

© Brooke Holm (courtesy of National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne)

© Robert Haas (courtesy of Kunsthalle Munich)



Original scenography: Agence Projectile

Sandra Gagné, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Exhibition set management: Atelier Jodar Architecture

Official transport partner

Air Canada


The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk/Tour dates:


Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Montreal

17th June 2011 – 2nd October 2011


The Dallas Museum Of Art: Dallas

13th November 2011 – 12th  February 2012


The De Young Museum: San Francisco

24th March – 19th August 2012


The Fundacion Mapfre: Madrid

6th October 2012 – 6th January 2013


The Kunsthal: Rotterdam

9th February – 12th May 2013


The Arkitektur-Och Designcentrum: Stockholm

17th June – 22nd September 2013


The Brooklyn Museum: New York

25th October 2013 – 23rd February 2014


The Barbican Centre: London

9th April – 17th August 2014


The National Gallery Of Victoria: Melbourne

17th October 2014 – 8th February 2015


Le Grand Palais: Paris

1st April – 3rd August 2015


Kunsthalle Munich: Munich

18th September 2015 – 14th February 2016


Dongdaemun Design Plaza: Seoul

26th March – 30th June 2016




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