Abstractions #1 – A trip to the Barbican

Yesterday I went to the Barbican Centre in London for the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition that is currently on.

It is a  massive, sprawling show containing hundreds of his creations, along with photography and video that explains the context for his creations and the people who have influenced him. Not my cup of tea, normally. But, there was a load of interesting nuggets for the ‘neutral’, some of my favourite nuggets were:

“He has remained true to what his first employer, Pierre Cardin, taught him: the idea is more important than the material used to translate it”

“You are true designer when people recognise your work with even looking at the label. This is the case for Jean Paul Gaultier” – Pierre Cardin

“For a long time people thought my clothes were unwearable….The enfant terrible part of me has to do with the way I work, the way I have fun with what I’ve designed” – Jean Paul Gaultier

Examining the work, you realise that what he relies on, time and time again throughout the clothes he has created is the power of contradiction. Of combining opposites, of playing with preconceptions. There was underwear as outerwear. There was tribal and African prints applied to formal tailoring. Rubbish (literally) used as haute couture.

It’s a fantastic, thought provoking exhibition that will appeal to all people, not just fashion folk.

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