Archive for the 'Fashion' Category

Au Revoir Monsieur Gaultier

Last week we bid adieu to The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier after three months of hosting the internationally touring exhibition at the DMA. Before the exhibition travels to its final U.S. museum, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: de Young, here are a few stats from the DMA’s presentation:

  • 114,986 visitors over three months
  • 16,044 postcards purchased
  • 1,020 catalogues sold
  • 142 ensembles
  • 73 works on paper
  • 49 wigs designed by Odile Gilbert
  • 30 animated mannequins
  • 13 weeks on view
  • 6 galleries of works
  • 2 custom cowboy-inspired greeters
  • 1 incredible fashion designer

See the exhibition from arrival to departure and everything in between.

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Kimberly Daniell is the PR Specialist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

“Like a Virgin”: Countdown to Gaultier’s First Exhibition

Last week several of my colleagues and I began meeting about the logistics of deinstalling the exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk once it closes on February 12. Gaultier is the world-renowned French couturier, whose fashion has been worn by everyone from Madonna to Lady Gaga. We found it difficult to believe that we were already making plans to take down a show in which we had invested so much time and effort installing. I was enormously privileged to be given the opportunity to help coordinate this installation as its exhibition registrar and to witness firsthand how so many of my colleagues transformed themselves daily into magicians in order to see this complicated project come to fruition in a tight timeframe. Permit me this walk down memory lane as I highlight stops, junctions, and detours on our way to what was the first of many openings, the VIP Host Committee Luncheon at 11:00 a.m. on November 9, 2011.

July 14–19 (3 months and 3 ½ weeks until opening)

This exhibition was the first fashion installation most of us had ever worked on, and its many technical requirements added extra complexities. A trip to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ installation was vital for me and several of my colleagues. We take hundreds of pictures, ask pages of questions, and document mannequin mounting, lighting, and mechanical specifications.

October 17 (3 weeks and 2 days until opening)

Two 18-wheelers deliver the majority of the exhibition, with mannequins, mounts, and furniture in a regular truck, and costumes and works on paper in a climate-controlled one.

October 18 (3 weeks and 1 day until opening)

As soon as possible, we locate and unpack the Galleon headband so its dimensions can be verified for our preparators, who will make a mount for it, and our carpenters, who will build the proper-size “porthole” display case.

Preparators John Lendvay and Mary Nicolett assemble mannequins and take height measurements so they will know where to place them on the platforms in relation to the projectors, which will eventually bring their faces to life.

October 20 (3 weeks until opening)

Once the Odyssey gallery mannequins have been placed, the preparators hang the projectors a precise eighty-eight inches away from their noses so that the faces will align properly and not look like Picasso paintings.

LED strips are affixed inside the Urban Jungle gallery platforms before their frosted Plexiglas tops are installed.

October 21 (2 weeks, 6 days until opening)

Naked assembled mannequins await dressing in what was deemed the “morgue” but later transformed into the Exhibition Store.

October 24 (2 weeks and 2 days until opening)

Several tightly fitted leggings and stockings were packed directly on their legs to save wear and tear from dressing and undressing them at each venue.  Thankfully, the mannequin body parts were labeled so we could easily match them to the proper legless torsos.

October 28 (1 week and 5 days until opening)

Tanel Bedrossiantz from Gaultier’s Paris atelier and local mannequin dresser Greg Goolsby join us on our first day of costume installation.

October 29 (1 week and 4 days until opening)

By the end of our second day, sixty mannequins throughout the exhibition have been dressed, including the catwalk models and their surrounding “punks.” We made it a priority to focus first on those with projections to allow as much time as possible for alignment and editing.

As hectic as the installation is, we find time to appreciate the humor – here Montreal’s organizing curator (and former model) Thierry Loriot demonstrates how to properly wear a Mohawk before attaching it to a mannequin head with double-stick tape.

Preparators and carpenter Dennis Bishop install the screen scrim and fine-tune the chain mechanism of the catwalk.

October 31 (1 week, 2 days until opening)

The porthole into the Urban Jungle gallery is finished, allowing visitors a sneak peek into the installation, and at the DMA’s Margot B. Perot Curator of Decorative Arts and Design Kevin Tucker, who is working with preparator Mike Hill on mannequin placement.

Mannequins patiently await their turn to be mounted on their catwalk platforms.

Tanel detaches a mannequin’s hands in order to install its many bracelets.

The “Hussar coat”-look silk faille skirt is unpacked. This piece has its own crate and is packed suspended over a cone support.

November 1 (1 week and 1 day until opening)

Gaultier atelier staff member Thoaï Nirodeth laces up the Chantilly lace body stocking. The Skin Deep gallery is the last to be dressed and installed because the back wall was built over a doorway we needed in order to move the large mannequin cases in and out of the space.

November 3 (6 days until opening)

We discover that a new mannequin has been sent for Madonna’s dancer’s costume in the Skin Deep gallery, and this one does not want to support himself (or Madonna) on all fours. After consultation with our conservator John Dennis and the Gaultier atelier, we build a mount to support him at the collar bone (surreptitously hidden by his black scarf).

A shipment of new outfits arrives from Paris, including the cowboy and cowgirl looks at the entry of the exhibition (created specifically for the Dallas installation), the 3-D “horn of plenty satin ribbon corset-style gown (which was just on the runway over the summer), and the costume from the film Kika. Upon unpacking the helmet, we notice the absence of a key accessory—an early model video camera. We locate similar ones on Ebay, but are fortunately able to obtain one overnight from a friend of a coworker who (thankfully) never throws anything away.

November 6 (3 days before opening)

The final shipment arrives from Montreal, including mannequins for the new outfits just arrived from Paris and clothing items with animal-related components that had been delayed due to customs problems.

Although it is standard practice to allow artwork twenty-four hours to acclimatize after arrival, time is of the essence and we unpack the final shipment immediately, which includes the doll with the ostrich-feather dress in the Boudoir gallery. In order to import items made from endangered animals or migratory birds, it is necessary to apply for government permits, which can take months to process.

Preparator Doug Velek installs the final two works on paper amid hair clippings in the exit gallery—the space that had been used as the “salon” of wig stylist Hugo Raiah.

November 7 (2 days before opening)

Preparator Lance Lander was instrumental in “lassoing” the numerous and complicated AV components in the exhibition, and also came to the rescue by lending the final accessories to complete the cowboy and cowgirl “looks.” (The lasso and Black Stetson were requested by the atelier at the last minute.)

Carpenter Dennis Bishop puts the finishing touches on the projector covers in the Odyssey gallery.

November 7, 8:30 p.m. (1 day and 9 ½ hours until opening)

Jean Paul Gaultier comes straight from the airport for his first walk-through of our installation. Several of us were on hand to welcome him and are privileged to watch the design genius at work as he adjusts the drapery of fabric and modifies accessories. To add more of his characteristic je ne sais quoi to the Chalk-striped mink pantsuit, he borrows a gold lamé turban from one of the female punks (now stylishly bald) and adds the Plastic bolero with gold thread embroidery.

November 8, 6:00 p.m. (17 hours before opening)

Registrars, preparators, and even our chair of collections and exhibitions scramble to clean, arrange, and affix the mirrored tiles to the platforms in the Metropolis gallery.

November 9, 10:00 a.m. (1 hour until opening)

After final consultation with Jean Paul Gaultier, his atelier staff hang the train of the Satin cage-look corset dress on the wall according to his specific direction.

Reagan Duplisea is the Assistant Registrar for Exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Graffiti Couture

There are six exciting galleries inside The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk exhibition, from a red light district to a motorized runway. For the Punk Cancan room, we decided to tag the walls with details of Gaultier and Dallas with the help of graffiti artist Jerod DTOX Davies for Blunt Force Crew/Beastmode Squad. Below is a behind-the-scenes look at the tagging process.

Photography by Adam Gingrich, Dallas Museum of Art Marketing Assistant, and George Fiala.

Seldom Scene: A Tip of the Hat

African Headwear: Beyond Fashion opened yesterday and will be on view through January 1, 2012. The exhibition celebrates the artistry of African decorative design and initiates us into the world of fashion a few months before we host Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. Below are a few images showing the preparation that went into creating the African Headwear exhibition.

Live from the Red Carpet: Gaultier Opens in Montreal

An entry to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with exhibition banner above

An entry to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with exhibition banner above

As the DMA’s curator for the forthcoming exhibition on Jean Paul Gaultier, I recently had the opportunity to travel with some of my colleagues to the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, where the exhibition had its international premiere. The Montreal Museum, which had organized the exhibition, did a tremendous job in presenting the works not simply as couture draped across mannequins, but as truly vibrant objects of art and design. The excitement was indeed palpable, as the red carpet was rolled down the front steps of the Museum and the crowds began to gather for opening night. Even for the second night’s reception, over 2,000 people gathered for a preview of the exhibition!

The crowds converge for one of the opening receptions

The crowds converge for one of the opening receptions

Gaultier arrived from Paris to join in the festivities and one could see he was enjoying himself as much as anyone else in attendance. One of the remarkable aspects of the installation was the creation of specially “animated mannequins” for the clothing which incorporated custom-molded heads to accommodate video projections of which made them appear to speak, sing, and scan the crowds (at the entry stood Gaultier’s own double—a mannequin welcoming those many visitors). Throughout the exhibition, Gaultier’s fashions reflected both his exceptional talents and sheer joy in life. As guests poured through the crowded galleries, they stopped to admire their new favorites—perhaps a dress of brilliant feathers making the wearer appear exotic and bird-like or a Can-Can dress with the repeated image of kicking legs on the interior?

Animated sailor mannequins with Gaultier's  fashions in his iconic marinière (sailor striped shirt) motif

Animated sailor mannequins with Gaultier's fashions in his iconic marinière (sailor striped shirt) motif

The Gaultier mannequin is programmed

The Gaultier mannequin is programmed

Crowds gather around the exhibition's moving catwalk

Crowds gather around the exhibition's moving catwalk

More crowds in the "Urban Jungle" section of the exhibition

More crowds in the "Urban Jungle" section of the exhibition

Come November, Dallas and DMA members will have the opportunity to enjoy their own welcoming party for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier!

Kevin W. Tucker is The Margot B. Perot Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Dallas Museum of Art

Working the Runway

Photo by James Edward Photography

On Saturday, March 5, the Dallas Museum of Art played host to nearly five hundred guests at An Affair of the Art, the annual black-tie fundraising gala hosted by the Museum’s Junior Associates Circle. For nearly twenty years, the funds raised by this event have supported the acquisition and exhibition programs of the DMA. The theme for 2011 was Maison de la Mode: House of Fashion, and the funds raised will support the Museum’s presentation of  The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, opening for the first time in the U.S. at the DMA on November 13.

Photo Booth.Foto Favor Rebecca Lorrine Photography

The “Juniors” certainly know how to throw a party, and here are some interesting insights from last weekend’s “fête”:

# of underwriters: 113
# of raffle tickets: 515
# of committee members: 103
# of months spent planning: 9
# of bottles of wine: 237
# of bottles of vodka: 33
# of vendors: 10
# of appetizers: 2,670 pieces
# of rented glasses (March 5 only): 2,400
# of postage stamps used: 2,794
# of gift bags for all events: 530
# of pieces of furniture rented: 103
# of waitstaff/bartenders (March 5 only): 43
# of cupcakes donated by Sprinkles: 550
# of events leading up to AoA: 4
# of bottles of donated water: 600
# of airline tickets donated by American Airlines: 4
# of pre-event media mentions: 7
average # of items in each gift bag: 14
# of gold mailing tubes used for event invitations: 650
# of awards won for printed materials: 1

Money raised: $164,000

My Day With Haute Couture: Visiting Paris with Jean Paul Gaultier

Every address in Paris resounds with some note of the city’s history as an artistic and cultural capital of Europe, but this week one address in particular, on rue Saint-Martin, echoed with cancan music and vibrant images of haute couture crafted by one of the enduring figures of the fashion world, Jean Paul Gaultier.

Two weeks ago I had the good fortune to visit the city and experience the premiere of Gaultier’s new spring and summer couture line, a selection of forty-six works evocative of not only the world of that most recognizable of dances but with punk culture of the 1970s. As he is known to do so well, Gaultier fused disparate influences into a richly charged whole—with dresses winkingly titled “The Clash,” “Too Fast to Live Too Young to Die,” and “Toulouse Lautrec.” While sophisticated in the materials, articulated forms, and elegant profiles, the line was anything but aloof, sedate, or boring—and proved that, in his fourth decade as an independent designer, the enfant terrible of the fashion world could still thrill and titillate while exhibiting the mastery gained in his years of work. To me, Gaultier’s best work is when his inspirations, from street fashion to various world cultures, just begin to fuse in his designs yet remain disparate enough to create a frisson that truly electrifies the viewer. Indeed, as fashion is articulated design for the human body, motion is implied; to excite, good design should have a restless and somewhat unexpected side.

 

My visit was in anticipation of the DMA’s forthcoming presentation of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, opening on November 13, 2011, following its international premiere at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in June. The first dedicated fashion exhibition hosted by the DMA under the aegis of the Museum’s Decorative Arts and Design program, this multisensory exploration of the career of Gaultier will include about 120 examples of his designs dating from the 1970s to works created in just the last year. Given the excellence of his work as one of the foremost fashion designers of recent decades, we are exceptionally thrilled to be the first venue in the United States for this landmark exhibition.

Gaultier in the Mohawk and Kevin on the far right.

After the show, I enjoyed the exceptionally rare opportunity to not merely review the works in his salon but visit the atelier on the top floor. Here, within this hive of alternately small and large workrooms, great bolts of fabric and endless tubs of beads, feathers, and trimwork rested neatly upon shelves, seemingly with no space unused. On any walls that had somehow managed to escape a shelving unit, photographs, Gaultier’s sketches, and notes were tacked. Staff diligently and carefully stitched, examined, and checked pieces, while fragments of prototypes—sections of dress with sample materials, alternate patterns, and differing techniques—hung from racks. While each of these vignettes might seem otherwise unremarkable to anyone familiar with the art of costume, the entire workshop reverberated with the energy of rapid preparations that had paused for but a moment as the forty-six works were presented to the eager crowd on the third floor of the building the prior afternoon. Before that day was done, the work began anew, plotting a course toward the next line of works that Gaultier had envisioned.

This November, Texans won’t have to go to France to experience the visual sophistication and boundless energy within Gaultier’s creations—they will just have to visit the DMA.

Kevin W. Tucker is The Margot B. Perot Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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