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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

How ziz he dou zat!?

Ahi (as the Spanish would say), how bad it makes me feel to look at the date on my last post and then at the one on the top right corner on the PC!
Almost another month has gone by and the summer goes toward its inevitable end.

This year has been much different from any other summer before: few holidays, few quiet days, few late sleeps, even few parties.
I really feel like moving to London has signed a passage in my life not only because of the fact that I'm officially getting ready for the real world (aka work), but also because I'm taking on all its aspects.
One of these being that I won't be having three months long holidays anymore, probably for the rest of my life!

I've been thinking a lot about those kind of changes now and I've ended up realising that at this point I almost feel like a teen-ager again.
An hybrid stuck between school life and college life (which i still haven't finished, there's still an MA which needs to be done!) and the working world and its people.
The only difference is that differently from when I actually was a teen-ager I have quite a few more experiences on my shoulders, a little more maturity and I am also slightly less rebel.
Not really, but probably I can handle myself better as I live alone and I know that everything I do and decided is up to me…

I remember feeling a bit sad at the beginning of this summer, knowing that I would have had too much to do to allow myself a proper holiday.
Right now, at the end of it, thinking of all that has happened, the people I've met, the things I've experienced, I feel like London is exactly the place I was meant to be in the past months.
Despite my constant need of going, leaving, travelling, I've got to understand that sometimes you just need to stay for a while, not only because of a necessity but because that gives you the chance to reflect on where you are and how you feel there.

The consequences of this reflection can be two very different ones: either you'd end up feeling like leaving even more than you did before, or you could eventually realise that you are perfectly fine where you are, at least for a while, meaning you are not giving yourself a deadline.
I guess that would mean feeling at home, finally.
I must say, it's a great feeling, absolutely great.

Plus, when you live in a place like London, a huge and wonderful city where you could experience every single day something new, it's quite easy to feel on holiday as soon as you have a day off.
When my mum came over for a few days after our brief time in Paris, we had a chance to o quite a few things together and being both of us the worst museum freaks you'd ever meet, one of these divertissement was going to the Barbican for the amazing exhibition dedicated to Jean Paul Gaultier that the cultural centre is hosting until the beginning of the fall.

I have to confess that it has been very challenging for me to resist without going until my maman came, just because I made her promise we'd go together.
In the end, I was happy I did so as being there with her was the funniest thing ever.
In fact, us both working in fashion, we belong to very different sides of it: I'm all about the creativity, inspiration, innovation, trend, let's say the theoretical aspects of it, while my fashion designer and manufacturer mother is much more attentive toward the practical side of it and everything that includes cuts, materials, construction.
Because of that, being in front of Gaultier's unbelievable creations with her gave us a chance to properly scan them and analyse every aspect of this amazing designer who has always been one of my absolute favourite because of his proximity to one of the most historical designs which has been fascinating me since my first trips visiting castles around Europe when  was a kid: the corset.

Despite having followed him and read a lot about Gaultier, there were a few things I didn't know about him.
First of all, his aesthetic is not only about mariner stripes, mermaids and corsets, oh no!
He has explored basically any kind of fashion, inspiration, influence, from some serious punk to the jungle fever to the various typical costumes of far nations such as China, but also close ones such as Spain.
What's even more incredible about Gaultier's fashion brain is that he didn't limit himself to just one influence or single inspiration for each collection: he interacted inter weaved them together, maintaining some of his most recognisable elements which spoke for him and then ranging over many other ones which he sometimes introduced in more than one of his collections.

The exhibition was divided in various sections which showcased some of the most relevant pieces he produced under the effect of a certain influence and inspiration, but what was crazy is that they didn't belong to the same collection or year!
Result: each collection feature some elements from each room becoming an incredible mixture of influences that could be defined in one and only way: genial.

Something else I've learnt about Gaultier is that his brain works in possibly two distinct ways: either he works for influences or for people.
Yes, people, because sometimes what inspires him are just individuals.
Beautiful, extraordinary individuals who become his muses and who he creates for.
What's unbelievable about this designer is his ability to make something that really represents his brand but that represents even more the person he is making it for.
That piece made for that particular model, actress, singer, just says her name our loud and you wouldn't put it on anyone else but her.
That's the power of creativity and expression, but it's also an indicator of an amazing sensibility that brought Gaultier close to some of the most controversial and interesting personalities of the past fifty years, just because he was able to provide them another way to speak for themselves apart from the one they had already chosen to do so.

Another interesting aspect I've learnt about Gaultier is his mundane one: being part of TV shows, inspiration for a music video (How you dou zat, whose title was inspired by a sentence Gaultier said during an interview in English with his unmissable French accentwhich sold an insane amount of copies and making fun of everything around him by speaking through a puppet, he just seemed to me as an incredibly funny person.
Gautlier is the kind of designer I'd like to go out for a drink with, comment on what everyone around is wearing and drink a lot of wine, celebrating his Frenchness and my Frenchness ensemble.

Speaking of the exhibition itself, it actually provided an interesting set and some innovative elements which I'm sure will be copied and revisited until the death after it.
When I read the infos on the exhibition in the Barbican's website, at the adjective theatrical used to describe the set of it, my curiosity broke free and I couldn't wait to see what did that mean.
I guess the theatrical aspect of it was mostly referred to the fact that faces were often projected on the mannequins wearing Gaultier's creations and they also spoke, looked around and interacted with the audience, sometimes making compliments ("You look fabulous, darling!"), sometimes reassuring them ("I don't bite" said the prototype of the punk man with a half meter tall crest on his head). 
I must say, I was a bit annoyed by that here and there, but that was probably due to the fact that we spent in each room three times the amount of time you'd be supposed to spend inside of it, therefor we heard the same conversation coming from the mannequins about five thousand times.
(At some point, while examining the inside of one of the punk shirts in the third room, maman looked at the mannequin speaking in Spanish over her head and couldn't hold it: "Ta gueule!").
Overall, I found it quite funny and coherent with what the entire exhibition was trying to communicate about the personality of the creative genius.

My absolute favourite and probably the biggest surprise about Gaultier's aesthetic: the punk designs.
I've always been fascinated from the punk culture and to find out how Gaultier felt the same connection with it when visiting London in his early days as a designer I was pleasantly surprised of how he represented it and gave it a new voice, a Gaultier voice, but still being faithful to some of its most relevant elements.
Un chef-d'Ĺ“uvre!

The final idea I was able to built about Gaultier after admiring his story and getting to know a bit more about his creative process is the one of a designer who is not scared of anything.
An experimenter, creator, innovator, who was able to create some elements of design that are going to stay alive forever and signed the history of fashion, but also allowed himself to brake free and experiment everything he felt the need to experiment, challenging his taste and fusing contrasts together in a very happy marriage.
Incredibly inspiring also because of the fact that he never forgot beauty as his ultimate goal, and the desire of making everyone, even boys, a beautiful and desirable doll to play with.

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