Divided into five areas, the exhibition reviews the presence of the fashion world of the silver screen, the contributions of great couturiers to film wardrobes, and the creation of male and female archetypes. The enfant terrible of fashion emphasises key aspects such as female empowerment, and pays heed to the influence of the rock, punk and queercore cultures that have had such an impact on fashion in recent years.
The exhibition features works by outstanding designers, such as Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin and Sybilla, in addition to some 80 iconic looks from the silver screen, including dresses worn by Audrey Hepburn, Sharon Stone, Grace Kelly, Catherine Deneuve and Madonna. Gaultier also pays tribute to Spanish fashion and cinema, with allusions to the designer’s referential figures, such as Pedro Almodóvar, Rossy de Palma, Sara Montiel, Javier Bardem, Balenciaga, Paco Rabanne, and even Don Quixote.
Two films take pride of place in the exhibition. The first is Falbalas, a melodrama by Jacques Becker set in the flurry of activity of a post-war couture house. This was the initiatory film discovered by Gaultier at the age of 13, and whose images he transformed into fashion designs. The designer has often commented “Without the Falbalas fashion show, I would never have gone into this business”. The second feature film is William Klein’s “Who are you, Polly Maggoo?”, a satire on the self-centred delusions of the world of haute couture.
In any case, “Cinema and Fashion. By Jean Paul Gaultier” is not an exhaustive history of the relationship between fashion and cinema, but an immersion into the representations of gender roles through costumes. It features ultra-feminised Hollywood femme fatales, such as Mae West and Marilyn Monroe, in figure-hugging gowns with plunging necklines; but also the French star Brigitte Bardot, so often accused of breaching moral customs, at the forefront of simple, young, carefree ready-to-wear fashion.