Jean-Paul Gaultier Show-Stopping Exhibition at de Young Museum

Jean-Paul Gaultier Show-Stopping Exhibition at de Young Museum

March 20122776Views

Fashion meets art, inspired by pop culture and street style

There has been a long-standing debate whether fashion is art. Those on the side of fashion argue that the innovation and creativity that is entailed in the work of the design masters such as couturiers, are the essence of art. Champions of fine art–with a more rigid standard of its definition–contend that art is confined to painting, photography, sculpture, and other similar mediums.

Regardless of what side your loyalty lies on the debate of fashion as art, it’s difficult to deny the impact that the fashion world has had on art, and vice versa. When you consider the creations of designers who use fashion as more than a garment to clothe the naked, but as a beacon to address social issues, challenge barriers, and defy status quo–then the artistic element becomes glaringly prevalent. French couturier Jean Paul Gaultier, who draws influence from popular and street culture with a futuristic air, is one such prolific designer.

Tomorrow one of the finest displays of fashion as art will be exhibited at de Young Museum when “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” opens. The exhibition is an impressive collection of Gaultier’s works throughout his career, which spans more than 30 years.

It highlights the French master’s brash, yet innovative take on design since his introduction onto the fashion scene. He has caused quite a stir in the industry from crossing the lines with androgynous presentations to rebelling against beauty norms by using full-figured women in his fashion shows.

The exhibition, which first opened at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, features more than 130 prêt-à-porter and haute couture pieces as well as costumes, film footage, photographs, and sketches. Exemplary of his penchant for the futuristic are 30 animated, talking mannequins with life-like faces, including one in the likeness of Gaultier that are located at the entrance of the exhibition. It is a testament to the notion of fashion as art.

Just a few of the dynamic elements to this exhibition that will amaze you include a revolving stage reminiscent of a runway, dresser made from suitcases, and street-style fashion with a graffiti covered wall as the backdrop. Also expect to see famous faces including Madonna, Naomi Campbell, and Linda Evangelista snapped by iconic photographers such as Steven Meisel.

The Fashion World of “Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” is a must-see spectacular, illustrating that there is more to fashion than just beauty. It can be a tool to combat social injustice, it can be a cultural influencer, and it can be art.

View complete photo album from my tour of the exhibition on Facebook. For more information on the exhibition, visit

Mignon Gould

Mignon Gould

Mignon Gould is a multimedia publisher and the Agent-in-Chief of She is a style enthusiast, who views fashion as an art form that anyone can master. In our Culture column, she shares her musings on the latest happenings in the world, from diversity in fashion to pop culture controversies. Mignon has also interviewed celebrities and insiders including actress Emma Stone, 70's supermodel Pat Cleveland, and Audrey Hepburn's son, Luca Dotti.