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MH de Young Museum
The Fashion World of
Jean Paul Gaultier:
From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
— March 24-August 19, 2012

The Fashion World
of Jean Paul Gaultier
WOW! "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk" was one of the most dramatic and visually stunning exhibits we've ever seen.

The exhibition was about Jean Paul Gaultier's vision — he is one of the most important designers of our era. It was the first exhibition devoted to the celebrated French haute couture fashion designer and the collection was magnificent — truly a work of art. And San Francisco's de Young Museum was the exclusive west coast venue for this critically acclaimed international exhibition. It followed in the footsteps of previous exhibits featuring the works of master designers Vivienne Westwood, Yves Saint Laurent and Cristobal Balenciaga.



This dynamic multimedia exhibition featured 140 ensembles spanning over 35 years from Jean Paul Gaultier's most celebrated works of haute couture and ready-to-wear collections, along with their accessories (created between the mid-1970s and 2010).

We were blown away from the minute we walked into the first section of the exhibit  — lifelike animated mannequins (some blinking and speaking) draped in signature Gautlier designs, were illuminated against a royal blue backdrop — an exquisite sight! Watch video

What was sure to be a popular draw to the exhibit were the infamous and iconic "cone bra" Body Corsets worn by Madonna in her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour —they made fashion history!

Also included in this unique exhibit were a variety of sketches, archival documents, stage costumes, runway clips, concerts and video excerpts from the designer's extensive film and music collaborations. See fashion photography and never-before-seen prints from a variety of contemporary photographers and renowned artists including Andy Warhol.



The exhibit was organized along six different thematic sections tracing the influences that have marked the designer's creative development:

  • The Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier
    (Exhibit began with a dramatic display of costumed animated mannequins)
  • The Boudoir
    (Explored Gaultier's fascination with lingerie. Madonna's famous "cone bra" Body Corsets and the first Corset Dress were on display)
  • Skin Deep
    (Garments inspired by themes of bondage and body art)
  • Punk Cancan
    (Chic Parisienne & Street "Punk" Culture)
  • Urban Jungle
    (Multicultural clash of influences including Hussars, Mongolians, Hassidic Jews, Frida Kahlo and China)
  • Metropolis
    (Exhibit concluded with costumes and sketches from movies (including costumes Gaultier designed for Pedro Almódovar's films) and Gaultier's relationships with pop icons)

Influenced by reality, Gaultier liked artistic expression and was inspired by people who were different. During his first visit to San Francisco in the early 1980s, he saw a man dressed in black leather and thought that was unique (welcome to San Francisco!) And so his famous leather-designed creations were born.

As Thierry-Maxime Loriot, originating curator, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts quoted, "... This unique exhibition offers visitors access to the world of Jean Paul Gaultier and haute couture, as well as articulating the strong social message behind his work, which truly defines his very own distinctive aesthetic."

Note: The Exhibition "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk" was organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Maison Jean Paul Gaultier. JoliCoeur International is the official supplier of mannequins for the exhibition.

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The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

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Exhibit Hours
Open Tues-Sun
9:30am-5:15pm

Fri (Mar 30-Nov 30 only) 9:30am-8:45pm

Closed Monday

There are several early and holiday closures, so be sure to check the museum's web site when planning your visit.

All tickets to this exhibit are timed and dated. It is recommended that you arrive approximately 30 minutes early to line up.

Buy de Young Museum Tickets


Concourse Parking
Parking (for cars and bicycles) is available in the Concourse parking facility. Access to the north entrance is from Fulton St. @ 10th Ave. Access to the south entrance is at Concourse Dr. and Martin Luther King Dr. inside the park.

Open daily, year-round.

Limited parking is available on John F. Kennedy Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.


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MH de Young Museum

- Exhibits
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Costumed Mannequin at Jean Paul Gaultier's exhibit at the de Young in San Francisco, CA

Cone Bra Body Corset worn by Madonna during her 1990 World Blond Ambition Tour - on display at the Gaultier exhibit in San Francisco, CA

Wedding Gown on display at the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, CA

Exhibit begins with a dramatic display of costumed animated mannequins - Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the de Young Museum, SF, CA

Skin Deep section of exhibit - leather-clad mannequins at the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, CA

Cone Bra Dress in The Boudoir - The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the de Young in Golden Gate Park, CA

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, CA

First Cone Bra Dress - on display at The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the de Young in San Francisco, CA

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit: Emil Larrson, Body Corset worn by Madonna, Blond Ambition World Tour 1990 - de Young Museum (copyright Emil Larsson

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the de Young in SF, CA

Punk Cancan section featuring moving catwalk with mannequins wearing Chic Parisienne designs at the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, CA

Punk Cancan section featuring Street Punk Culture and colorful wall mural at Jean Paul Gaultier's exhibit at the de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier - Pierre et Gilles, Jean Paul Gaultier, 1990 - Designed specially to illustrate the cover of the autobiographical photonovel A Nous Deux la mode, Painted photograph, framed by the artists. Private collection, Paris - de Young Museum - copyright Pierre et Gilles/Rainer Torrado

Jean Paul Gaultier signing an autograph after his presentation at the Press Preview of his exhibit "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk" at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA

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