Only some of the crowd greeting French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier at the Brooklyn Museum, wore his clothes, easily identified by the tab on the back. But many chose the occasion of the opening of a lavish exhibition, "The Fashion World of Jean-Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk," to pay tribute, riffing on his most camp and louche looks without actually wearing HIS designs. That's to be expected for the man who gave Madonna the pointy cone bra! But upstairs on the museum's fifth floor, rooms fitted with mannequins whose facial expressions move in delight or dismay display his art in a spectacular show to rival the splendid Alexander McQueen at the Metropolitan Museum a few seasons back.
Featuring a full sampling of his career, from his nautical stripes to beaded bustiers, lace gowns to tartan trenchcoats, gartered corsets and an outré glamour, the exhibition illustrates the line between what is beautiful and what can actually be worn. The exhibition catalogue, with images of Catherine Deneuve, Marion Cotillard, Juliette Binoche, Carla Bruni-Sarkozi, Dita von Teese, and even Cindy Sherman' sly take, shows his work is not just for mannequins and drag queens. But what did he wear? Gaultier had on one of his tuxedo jackets with a man's skirt: "My first skirt was constructed like a trouser, with two legs cut fairly wide, and a panel of fabric covering them in front, like the aprons worn by waiters in Parisian bistros," he explains. "I could never have anticipated the effect my men's skirt would have on fashion . . . [it] has nothing to do with drag."
This being the opening, Piper-Heidseck poured as guests were treated to manicures. A shout out to Hana Ohno who did mine in gold lame and hand painted a Halloween worthy design on my right ring fingernail.
Fashion and movies mingled elegantly at last Monday's screening of Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief at MoMA, part of a weeklong celebration of the film's star, Grace Kelly and the Princess Grace Foundation. The screening was followed by cocktails at Ralph Lauren's mansion on 72nd Street and Madison. In attendance: Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco and Barbara Walters, Chris Noth, Dylan McDermott, Kyle MacLachlan, Nan Bush and Bruce Weber. Film Forum will show a retrospective of his films in mid-November including one of my favorites, Let's Get Lost.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.