Letter From Dallas:
Jean Paul Gaultier, a Parisian in America
Decades owner Cameron Silver://www.twitter.com/camerondecades" target="_blank">@CameronDecades.
This week, the doyennes of the Lone Star State put on their finest and welcomed the incomparable Jean Paul Gaultier for the U.S. exhibition premiere of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. Gaultier was on his first trip to Dallas for the vernissage of his retrospective, which began at Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts and is on view now through February 12 at the Dallas Museum of Art. The show features 130 ensembles from over 35 years of Gaultier collections, including everything from corsets worn by Madonna on her Blond Ambition tour to JPG’s childhood teddy bear, which he styled as only the original enfant terrible of fashion could—when he was an actual infant.
Dallas being Dallas, three parties and three outfit changes were required for the 24-hour trip. Tuesday evening, Deedie Rose welcomed Gaultier to her historic Highland Park Pump House with his first official pair of Leddy’s cowboy boots (embroidered with silver Eiffel Towers), and guests enjoyed a performance by the Kilgore Rangerettes while munching on Frito pies and sipping tequila. It was down to business on Wednesday, when the host committee got to preview the exhibition and get first dibs on the items from the gift shop (like the Alain Milki sunglasses, which sold out immediately). This was followed by a luncheon hosted by Brian Bolke of the noted boutique Forty Five Ten, where Gaultier-clad guests Ana Pettus, Christen Wilson, Patti Cruise, as well as Julie Macklowe (in town to launch her VBeauté It Kits at Forty Five Ten) and Lela Rose (in her own design) enjoyed everything from a “Mushroom Mohawk” to a dessert called “Feathers and Lace,” all inspired by Gaultier styles.
I took a brief respite before the large cocktail reception, for which Gaultier friend and fan Dita Von Teese (above left, with Gaultier) flew in from L.A. (The famous skeletal corset ensemble she wore down the designer’s Fall 2010 Couture runway is included in the show.) Ever the showman, Gaultier entertained the crowd with stories about his grandmother, a faith healer who would drink vinegar to contract her stomach in order to lace up her salmon satin corsets. He confessed to asking Madonna to marry him three times, and remarked that “fashion is there to show what’s happening in society.” And he had the influential Gaultier-dressed Dallas-ites like Couture-clad Cindy Rachofsky, vintage-clad Kelli Questrom, Mayor Mike Rawlings and his wife Micki, and director Maxwell Anderson and his stunning wife Jacqueline (wearing a Gaultier previously worn by Lady Gaga) in the palm of his hands when he announced “Everything can give me an idea…Dallas will inspire my next collection.” Wearing men’s Gaultier Couture, curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot reminded us that in January, JPG will show his 150th collection. Get ready for cowboy boots and hats, partner.
Above: Nathalie Bondil, Thierry-Maxime Loriot, Tanel Bedrossiantz, Michael Young, Sharon Young, and Cindy Rachofsky.