Gaultier – Spring 2010

I just spent a half hour staring in awe at the abundance of gorgeous artistry and detail in Jean Paul Gaultier‘s Spring 2010 collection. Each piece is so painstakingly tailored and manipulated into shapes entirely unreal.  The weaving and color in most of the pieces reminded me also of Haida.

Haida art had reached a very sophisticated stage of development by the time of the Haida people’s first contact with Europeans. Nearly every household item was adorned with carved or painted crests. Missionaries saw the art as the work of the devil; but ethnologists were looking for material culture they could use in museum dioramas in New York and Chicago.  Haida weaving traditionally took years to complete. Here, Gaultier appears to delve into the roots of traditional tribal art forms and trace the genesis through the threads of several pieces, not only touching upon the Native American, but the French and Spanish influence upon these far-away cultures and how we see each other in such fantastical and exaggerated ways. I cannot be certain about his influences here, but the impression is there nontheless.

Outright, the collection is an avant-garde nod to exotic locales, fantasy landscapes, and historical form. It was heavily criticized by the fashion media, however, who lauded it as sub-par and over-imagined.  I have to totally disagree. My opinion here is that Gaultier extended himself beyond the shallow grasp of the industry in which he must practice, and simply used his models as the frame upon which his Wild Life could swing.

Below, his  raven inspired pieces showcase the sleekness, texture, and sharpness in the avian silhouette through the clever use of woven silks and feathers: