If you weren’t fortunate enough to see the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art — I missed seeing it by mere minutes as I approached the ticket counter hopelessly out of breath only for a MET guard to look me up and down to tell me the exhibit was closed for the day — then you have but a few days to not miss another giant. It is with this disappointment in mind that call attention to the final days of an extraordinary exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Montréal. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is the first international exhibition of the French designer’s body of work. The expansive retrospective is equalled in kind by a 424 page exhibition catalogue published by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with Abrams for the English edition and Éditions de La Martinière for the French edition. The monograph’s brilliant cover in particular with its clever striped slipcase is where we pick up the story as it features a Miles Aldridge portrait of Ford’s Alana Zimmer (detail from “Immaculée n°3,” Numéro mai 2007) intercut with a detail of a picture of Jean Paul Gaultier by Herb Ritts. The exhibition has been an unqualified success and concludes this Sunday. Don’t suffer the same fate I did with Savage Beauty this weekend if you’re in Montréal; see The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.
Just before New York Fashion Week I had a chance to speak with Alana Zimmer about the exhibit and her work with Jean Paul Gaultier.
Damien Neva: Having walked for Jean Paul Gaultier’s RTW and Couture how did the exhibition compare to your experience? Is it faithful to the designer’s oeuvre? What was missing?
Alana Zimmer: The exhibition had a punk and quirky feel, but also showed just how feminine and chic Jean Paul’s designs are, both of which I think are very important to the JPG aesthetic. It was also interesting to see things from Jean Paul’s childhood, and to hear about the nature of his early inspirations, such as his little teddy bear that he had made the original pointed bra for. I can’t think of a single thing missing from the exhibition, it was incredibly rich in detail.
DN: Tell us about that Miles Aldridge portrait that is on the catalogue? What do you remember from the shoot and the Jean Paul Gaultier look you wore for it.
AZ: The portrait was shot about four years ago. At the time I was at the beginning of my career and was quite naive about what a shoot entailed. I remember them hoisting star shaped items up behind my head but having no clue what the end image would look like. I also remember Alice [Ghendrih] (the make-up artist) dropping glycerin onto my face to look like tears, and hoping it would stay long enough for Miles to capture the picture. It was a very long day but the story in Numero was definitely worth it. It is probably the most iconic shoot I’ve done to date, as people always seem to remember my face from those pictures.