Jean Paul Gaultier Retrospective: So Alive

‘Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier’ at de Young: Aidin Vaziri | The first thing visitors see when they walk into “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” exhibition at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum is a life-size mannequin of the 60-year-old French designer himself in his signature mariner striped shirt. But this is no boring stiff.

He talks. He blinks. He laughs. Standing against a panel of blue light with an army of similarly dressed and animated figures, he invites people into a fashion display unlike any other.

“A museum can seem dead, like a funeral,” the real Gaultier said during a walk-through of the exhibition last week, explaining why he was initially resistant to the idea of putting 35 years of his work on view. “I don’t feel dead yet. I wanted something to be very, very alive.”
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