Aptly called the Mermaid, Norman Norell’s shimmering, sequin-covered evening gown is arguably his most recognizable creation. Like many designers, he was influenced by Hollywood costumes, especially those created during the Golden Age. In fact, Norell began his career working for both Brooks Costume Company and Paramount Pictures during the 1920s. It is not surprising that he was one of the most successful at incorporating silver screen glamour in his luxurious, ready-to-wear evening garments, especially his Mermaid gowns.
Geoffrey and I went out to Coney Island equipped with a minor agenda that included eating at Wahlburgers (disappointing), attending a concert at the new amphitheater (nice venue, underwhelming artist) and visiting the new-for-2016 Coney Art Walls. We saw the Art Walls Last Summer and they were amazing! Unfortunately, when we tried to enter the space this past weekend, we were told that they were closed for a private party, and that we could pay $15 if we wanted to gain admittance to see them, and also be subjected to what sounded like the worst music ever in the universe of all time. We declined. “Come back tomorrow,” we were told, but that wasn’t going to happen when a 90-minmute subway ride is involved.
If you’re a fan of costume and couture exhibits, and you thought that 2011’s Alexander McQueen exhibit, Savage Beauty (which dominated traffic at The Met for close to a year) was amazing, then your head will definitely explode when you see the Brooklyn Museum’s must-see extravaganza,The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. We arrived at the Brooklyn Museum not really knowing what to expect, and were so blown away by this expansive and wildly impressive exhibit that you can count on the 100 or so photographs I snapped during yesterday’s visit being spread out over several blog posts.
The exhibit is divided into six galleries and the photos in this post are from the very first gallery, The Odyssey, which is presented in the round. It includes three distinctive styles and is your introduction to the exhibit’s most unique and fun characteristics: facially emoting mannequins. These custom mannequins with interactive faces are created by high-definition audiovisual projections. To give you an example of what this phenomena actually looks like, it is very similar to the technology used at Disneyland for the Haunted Mansion, where a medium’s head encased within a crystal ball conducts a seance and headstones in the graveyard sing “Grim Grinning Ghosts.” Needless to say, it is extremely cool.
The Brooklyn Museum is the only East Coast venue for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, the first international exhibition dedicated to the groundbreaking French couturier. Playful, poetic, and transformative, Gaultier’s superbly crafted and detailed garments are inspired by the beauty and diversity of global cultures.
The remainder of the exhibit is divided into five additional custom galleries including The Boudoir, Skin Deep, Punk CanCan, Urban Jungle and Metropolis and features approximately 140 haute couture and ready to wear ensembles from the designer’s earliest to his most recent collections. Besides clothing ensembles you’ll see accessories, sketches, stage costumes, excerpts from films and documentation of runway shows, concerts, and dance performances, as well as photographs by fashion photographers and contemporary artists who stepped into Gaultier’s world, which explore how his avant-garde designs challenge societal, gender and aesthetic codes in unexpected ways.
Look at these cool gowns and designs inspired by Mermaids:
As I said, if you were Wowed by Savage Beauty, the Gaultier exhibit is equally impressive, while it lacks the extreme fetishism of the McQueen exhibit. And it goes without saying, but you can see I am about to, that it blows The Met’s uneven Chaos to Couture Punk Fashion exhibit completely out of the water. Check back during the week for more photos!
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is on Exhibit Through February 23rd, 2014 at the Brooklyn Museum, Located at 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052 (Take the 2 or 3 Trains to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum). The Exhibit is in the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing and Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery on the 5th Floor. Admission to the Exhibit is $15 and is separate from General Admission to the Museum. Students with ID and Corporate Members Pay $10. Members see Gaultier for free. On-site ticket sales end at 5:00 PM on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and 9:00 PM on Thursday. Hours are Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Thursday: 11:00 AM –10:00 PM, Friday – Sunday: 11:00 AM– 6:00 PM.
Sleep with the fishes in this awesome Shell Bed, which I’ve also seen referred to as a “Mermaid Bed.” Very Pink. Very Cool.