You didn't need to wander around for too many seconds before you found the obvious element that separates Gaultier from other haute couture designers. What I found particularly inviting about Gaultier's designs is the philosophic mindset that he projects on his avant-garde style of fashion. He is an avant-garde trail-blazer in the fashion world when it comes to pushing the stylish envelope into transcendental androgynous terrain. Gaultier is a master at blending and merging the sexes through fashion. He melts away stringent rules, mindsets and borders and unifies everything through the fabric of space, time and fashion.
I respect individualities and I like particularities. I mix and match, collect, twist, and crossbreed codes. Past, present, here, elsewhere, masculine, feminine, remarkable, humdrum—it all coexists. — Jean Paul Gaultier
Before the full-blown boundary-dissolution happens and the plants, people, trees, skies, moon and stars look back at you like the person in the mirror, this trickster lesson begins to manifest itself in trickier ways. If you've ever taken LSD at an underground acid rave or wandered around festival marketplaces at night while under the weird influence, you might know what I'm talking about. You begin to hear weirdly pitched androgenic voices, you come across winking transexuals, and difficult-to-figure undercover cross-dressers most certainly will spill into your square reality (reminiscent of the blouse wearing psychedelic rock stars of the 60's (i.e. Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison.)).
Sexual energies latent in everything around you, inanimate and animate, begin to emanate and swallow you into them. Your body begins to mimic liquid, reminding you life is liquid. You begin to feel the flow of prana and you decide to become and go with the flow of prana in your newly realized liquid form. You begin to move the way your soul would move if it wasn't heavily burdened with a body (which may or may not be particularly perfect for an acid rave). It feels like you woke up to the snap of a cosmic finger, and once you wake up your eyes feel like their mischievously twinkling like stars up against the dark, pitch black night sky. When this begins to happen, you know you're tripping big time. Reality feels so malleable and your wand-like fingers can do with it as you wish. (Maybe, kind of like Steve Jobs did with touchscreen iPhone?)
I've compiled some pictures I took at the Gaultier Brooklyn Museum exhibit here for you. I'm also featuring two select videos of Gaultier's runway shows if you're interested in seeing some of his work in action. The quote below precisely sums up the meaning behind Gaultier's fashion world. His work truly is: fashion on acid.
Through twists, transformations, transgressions, and reinterpretations, he blurs the boundaries not only between cultures but also between the sexes, creating a new androgyny and subverting hypersexualized fashion codes. Underneath Jean Paul Gaultier's wit and irreverence lie a true free spirit and a powerful message for society. Going beyond the exceptional expertise and technical acumen involved in haute couture, he offers an open-minded vision of society: a crazy, sensitive, funny, sassy world in which everyone is invited to assert his or her own identity—a world without discrimination.
The last video I'm featuring here is this throwback 1994 Spring Summer Gaultier fashion show; which, if you can't do the math, happened exactly two decades before the runway show video above. It's interesting to see exactly how much the art form has evolved and changed over the course of two decades of haute couture. By the looks of it, the 90's were clearly happening. According to this fashion show production, Gaultier undoubtedly came across viles of liquid acid in the early 90's, either while wandering around the Bohemian streets of Montmartre, or while partying at the German Love Parade, the result gives way to the same. This merging of psychedelic and tribal fashion tastes is something you'd expect to see at places like Ozora or BOOM Festival, for example, not at a haute couture runway show. Gaultier is indubitably a loaded ZOOMDOUT head, so, much respect and applause for the man. Personally, I would love to see an evolved 90's fashion comeback, further merging its tribal elements with futuristic fashion (e.g. Channel S/S 2014). How about you? What would you like to see on the urban jungle streets? (Comments welcome below.)
In the next psychedelic fashion related blog, I'll be talking about the most futuristic fashion show the world has ever seen. Stay tuned for that. But for now, please enjoy the videos. They'll definitely manage to get you in the spring and summer type of mood.