Going through my archive of photos, I found some wonderful examples of embellishment techniques at the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition from 2014.  This amazing exhibition ‘The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk’, was on at the Barbican, London, from 9th April 2014 – 25th August 2014. It was packed full of beautiful clothing and was really forward thinking because you could take as many photographs as you liked – bravo!

What I also thought was brilliant was that each look had a label that not only described the materials, but in addition many of them detailed how long each piece took to make.  It’s something that made me really happy because it helps to dispel the myth that creatives are not also business people.  Jean Paul Gaultier clearly has a great business brain as well as fabulous creativity, and has a clear idea of how much it costs to produce his creations.

I was looking at the huge exhibition for several hours and one thing that struck me was just how many processes there were in the different collections.  So many materials and techniques, with each one pushed past its boundaries with imagination.

For this post I have decided to hone in on one element and concentrate on the beading, embroidery and other embellishments that I noticed in some of the pieces.

↓ Tuxedo style satin jacket; silk jersey toreador trousers with silver-thread, beads and jet embroidery ↓  ‘Calligraphy’ collection.  ‘Enluminure’ ensemble.  Haute couture spring/summer 2009.  Time needed to create 56 hours.  Ensemble worn by Arielle Dombasle in her video for ‘Porque te vas’ 2011.

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↓ Beaded skull top ↓  Sadly I did not write down the information about this one!  If anybody knows please leave it in a comment below and I will update the post.  I think it might be one of the ‘Gaulthique’ from the 1980s, as I did photograph the information about the red piece that you can just see on the right hand side of this image.

“Some pieces I designed in the 1980s were a kind of haute couture: unique, embroidered pieces for both men – my ‘Gaulthique’ sweaters for example – and women, a number of them involving a great deal of work.  Without officially doing haute couture, many designers at the time presented it in their prêt-à-porter collections: Vivienne Westwood, Thierry Mugler, Azzedine Alaïa, Claude Montana.  Such pieces were all out couture, with incredibly sophisticated finishing.”  Jean Paul Gaultier.

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Tattoo beaded silk blouse ↓  ‘Confessions of a Child of the Century’ collection.  Haute couture autumn/winter 2012-13.

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↓ Cut velvet gown with cross-stitch embroidery and ribbon with glass, crystal and jet beads ↓  ‘Tribute to Russia and Ukraine’ collection. ‘Gaïna’ gown.  Haute couture autumn/winter 2005-06. Time needed to create 242 hours.  Hairstyle by Odile Gilbert.

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Long denim coat with jet beading ↓  ‘Haute couture salon atmosphere’ collection.  Haute couture spring/summer 1997.

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If you would like to see more of the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition, there are many images on the web.  The corset display was divine.  One corset was made of straw – a crafted work of beauty.

Below is a link to a youtube film, filmed during the installation of ‘From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk’ at the ‘Kunsthalle München’ (translates to ‘Art Museum Munich’). The work was exhibited there from 18th September 2015 – 14th February 2016.