Jean Paul Gaultier Comes to Dallas: The Story Behind the Mannequins

968 648 Lauren Kennedy

There has been a hype around town, and I think it has to do with Jean Paul Gaultier bringing his world to Dallas. From the gaiety at the events leading up to this arrival to the unbelievable increase in sales for local boutique, Forty Five Ten, and resale shops carrying JPG clothing, the Big D is experiencing great expansion into the world of fashion. It is bringing a new air of inspiration to the city, and we all are noticing. Dallas fashion icon, Jan Strimple agrees: “Dallas is fashionably on fire! Having Jean Paul Gaultier in our city is exhilarating. It’s a feast for the eyes and soul. It captures his provocative nature, his proclivity for inclusiveness, and makes the viewer think.”

Not only was I honored to attend the press conference and soft launch of the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit, “From the Catwalk to the Sidewalk” at the Dallas Museum of Art last Thursday, I also had the personal pleasure of sitting down with mannequin designer, Lucie Jolicoeur, and her brother over a lovely lunch to discuss the stories behind the extraordinary creations produced by Jolicoeur International.

What is so fascinating about the Quebec City native, Lucie Jolicoeur, is the immense passion for her work and the creative process. She is greatly dedicated to the quality of the manufacturing that she personally oversees the entire process in China. She assured me that an arm or a leg never gets shipped out without her approval. But what stunned me the most was the fact that nothing is made by a machine, resulting in one-of-a-kind mannequins, crafted with the most delicate care and attention to detail. For this exhibit, they were even transported by planes rather than the usual mode of transportation by boat in order to meet tight timelines.

A fascinating point of view: The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit debuted in Montreal, and the shift to the Dallas scene caused for changes to the mannequins. Each mold was altered to fit the aesthetic and culture of this city. New, stronger positions with smaller waists countered the more relaxed postures displayed in Montreal. A major difference, in fact, surfaced in the posture of a man on his knees. The workers in China were esteemed to be part of such a “special” project and were quite intrigued by the idea of creating a male mannequin, which is at times a rarity.

Jolicoeur International took it one impressive step further by joining creative forces with a company to produce animation on the mannequins. They speak, blink, and even sing to the audience–something so innovative that we are all esteemed to have the chance to see.

A Personal Note: The mannequins are outstanding. From the distinct shape of their faces to the color of their skin, the model shapes collaborated beautifully with such an esteemed designer. The designs proudly filled the themed rooms–Boudoir, Skin Deep, Punk Can Can, Metropolis, and Urban Jungle, and they added such quality, witt, and personality to the entire exhibition. Bravo!

About the Exhibit

Making its U.S. premier on Sunday, November 13th, at the Dallas Museum of Art, the exhibit includes some 130 haute couture dresses and ready-to-wear pieces spanning the 1970′s through the present day. In addition to 30 animated mannequins, the multi-media experience also presents photographs, sketches, and film and television excerpts – some never before seen by the public.

Running through February 12th, 2012, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier will make only one additional stop stateside at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young, before heading on to Europe.

Admission to this exhibition requires a special ticket, starting at $16, available for purchase online, at the museum, or by phone at 214-922-1803. Click here for additional ticketing details. (Info from DFW Style Daily).

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