Joseph Benjamin

Jean Paul Gaultier’

Joseph Benjamin
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit won't include a live gang of ninjas or an actual burlesque-dance performance (at least, not that we know of), but not to worry: There will be talking mannequins, 120 haute couture dresses and ready-to-wear pieces, and video clips from films, concerts, and fashion shows from the designer's 35-year career. The museum proposed the idea of an ambitious retrospective exhibit to Gaultier two years ago and has since worked closely with him to put it together (the designer has a former long-term boyfriend in Montreal, and thus has a soft spot for the city, which he affectionately calls "Paris's leetle seester").
The exhibit encompasses Gaultier's moments in high fashion as well as pop culture, including his involvement in the pop music scene (there will be costumes from Madonna's "Blond Ambition" tour!), Andy Warhol, and the BBC television program Eurotrash, which he hosted from 1993 to 1997. There will also be a number of previously unseen artifacts from Gaultier's childhood, including early sketches and a teddy bear that he glued paper breasts onto when he was young. (Having never received formal training, Gaultier got his foot in the door at Pierre Cardin by mailing him drawings.)
The 59-year-old designer insists that the retrospective exhibit isn't indicative of an approaching end point in his career, but rather is just another "creation" to add to his already colorful history. Browse a preview of "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk," which opens this Friday, June 17, and runs through October 2, in our slideshow.