This is a story about this one time that I totally saw Jean Paul Gaultier in person and then my friend ran into him outside of the bathroom and shook his hand and we were all super jealous. Here goes.
Last week, my friend Lê wrote, “I have tickets to see this JPG movie and then we can go to the exhibit a week before it opens to the public!” After squinting at my computer for ten minutes, I figured out that “JPG” meant Jean Paul Gaultier and is not some new, hip term for a certain type of photo file extension. (Scott just informed me that JPG is actually a way to say JPEG, and I’m just being Mac-centric.)
Lê was inviting me to the DeYoung for this exhibit I’ve been totally excited to see! So, win. All photos of our experience are courtesy of my friend Kasia, who has a smartphone with a nice camera whereas I am still operating with a 2004-style flip phone. She probably wasn’t planning on my sharing her mad photography skillz with the Internetz, but it’s cool. (I think.)
We’re all squished into this theater, and the crowd is murmuring and a beautiful French man gets up and introduces himself as the curator of the exhibition and says, “Please welcome Farida Khelfa and Jean Paul!”
Farida Khelfa, who made the documentary Jean Paul Gaultier ou les codes bouleversés, started her modeling career with Gaultier in the ’80s, and she’s also been his couture director, and she talks about how it feels right to be beginning this new venture (filmmaking) with him as well. They clearly have a lot of love for one another, and they shared the story of their first meeting, which Jean Paul describes as a coup de foudre, the French term for love at first sight.
The documentary was great, and I would highly recommend it to everyone. It was tremendously inspiring because of Jean-Paul’s talent and accomplishments, but also because of his amazing capacity for optimism. I won’t ruin it for you, but I came away really energized by his enthusiasm and positivity. By the way, did I mention that this was the first time the documentary had been screened in the United States? And that I got to see Jean-Paul Gaultier? Sorry, it bears repeating.
Then we went downstairs to get in line for the exhibit, and Lê went to the restroom while we saved her place, and while she was there Jean-Paul was hanging out in some fancy room next door with some museum donors and he shook her hand! We took a picture of her hand. You don’t necessarily need to see that.
The exhibit was awesome, duh. It’s not even really my aesthetic but the craftsmanship was incredible to see up close. There was so much that I kind of just want to photobomb you and be done. Things not pictured here: the costumes from several of Madonna’s tours, including the infamous cone bras/corsets; several of the costumes from The Fifth Element, one of my favorite movies of all time (mostly those worn by Chris Tucker, hilariously); any of the rad photographs from various editorials featuring JPG’s clothing. There was just so much to see.
I leave you with the only song Jean Paul Gaultier ever released, called “How To Do That.” It was number 53 on the charts in 1989, and JPG said that he didn’t quite make it into the Top 50, so he thought he should probably just focus on the clothes. I think he should have kept going, but…
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier is on display at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco until August 19, 2012.