Jean Paul Gaultier’s Avant-Garde Designs Come to Life at Brooklyn Museum Exhibit

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An eclectic mix of socialites, celebrities, models and fashion mavens gathered at the Brooklyn Museum on Wednesday night to celebrate the opening of Jean Paul Gaultier‘s breathtaking exhibition, “The Fashion World Of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.”

Featuring multiple rooms of garments ranging from glittering gowns to gold wire corsets, the exhibit pays homage to the fashion designer’s greatest hits from the last four decades. “I think it’s very flattering, especially since I’m still alive,” he tells Haute Living with a smile. “Normally, it’s when you are dead.”

When asked if he had a favorite piece on display, Gaultier paused for a moment, before throwing his hands into the air. “They’re all my babies,” he said genuinely. “I like them all so I cannot say.”

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Though Gaultier has displayed his work in a number of artistic mediums throughout the years—he’s crafted corsets for Madonna, rocker ensembles for Marilyn Manson and costumes for a slew of Hollywood blockbusters—the 61-year-old designer said it never occurred to him to create a museum exhibition until now. “I always loved shows and theater, so in some way it’s something like that,” he revealed. “I wanted to do something that would be a new experience, a new adventure.”

Playful, poetic and transformative, the exhibit showcases 140 of Gaultier’s haute couture and ready-to-wear ensembles, inspired by the beauty and diversity of global cultures. Stage and film costumes worn by BeyonceMadonnaKylie Minogue and Milla Jovovich, as well as numerous accessories, sketches and photographs are also included in the exhibition, which is currently on view through Feb. 23.

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As guests wandered from room to room reflecting on the various themes, ranging from Parisian street culture to singing mermaids, even sadomasochism, Gaultier’s superbly crafted and detailed garments, quite literally, came to life. Using high-definition audiovisual projections, many of the mannequins blink, smile, and even whistle, as visitors walk by. A mannequin of Gaultier, dressed in his signature stripes, speaks to guests in his own flirty voice.

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“The mannequins talking to you are just a thrill,” exclaimed model Coco Rocha, who is often hailed as Gaultier’s muse. “I love it and I’m not just saying it. I think it’s really a beautiful exhibition and I’m really proud of him. He’s been here for a week trying to make sure that everything’s perfect.” Rocha and Gaultier have been friends for years, ever since she famously closed his 2007 fall show by dancing a Celtic Irish jig down the runway.

After admiring Gaultier’s innovative designs, Rocha said she plans to be more daring in future red carpet ensembles. “It’s a lot of fun to see this stuff and be like, why is no one wearing it on the red carpet? Outfits like this should be worn all the time,” she gushed.

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Supermodel Karlie Kloss also came out for the fashion-forward debut and was equally impressed by Gaultier’s masterful creations. “It’s just amazing,” she said while gazing at an avant-garde collection constructed completely out of denim.

After strolling through the expansive exhibition, Gaultier and his VIP guests including Calvin Klein, Veronica Webb, Chris Delgatto, Christian Siriano, Fern Malis, Gary Van Dis, Amanda Lepore, Sally Jesse Raphael, June Ambrose, Jay Emmanuel and the original Village People “cowboy,” Randy Jones, dined on pesto garnished cod and toasted fashion’s enfant terrible paired with Piper Hiedsieck champagne.