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The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the sidewalk to the catwalk

An undeniable inspiration at the forefront of fashion, the 'enfant terrible,' Jean Paul Gaultier makes his much anticipated debut in the captivating exhibition that has every fashionista on their feet.

Following huge success in Montreal last year, Gaultier’s collection has opened doors at the Fundacion Mapfre in Madrid. Over 120 innovative designs, early works, photographs, videos and stimulations represent his colourful and triumphant career spanning over four decades.

It appears as an exciting homage to all that has been masterfully created by the legend, where fashion is transformed into art form and individuality strikes on a whole new level.

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"I respect individualities and I like particularities. I mix and match, collect, twist, and crossbreed codes. Past, present, here, elsewhere, masculine, feminine, remarkable, humdrum - it all coexists," Gaultier has said, speaking of fashion and art.  

And you gain insight into his vision as soon as you enter the exhibition. Prepare to be greeted by an array of animated talking mannequins dotted about the dimly lit room, adorned with cascading gowns and uniquely intricate designs.

Cast your gaze to Jean Paul Gaultier himself – or a realistic super-imposed mannequin – who explains the function and significance of the exhibition, entitled The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the sidewalk to the catwalk. 

Each section carries its own theme and individual diversity. 'The Odyssey' relates to the signature Gaultier look, the Mariniere, where a sea of nautical sailor stripes makes its mark on the collection. 'The Boudoir,' by ultimate contrast, focuses on the designer's delight for corsets and the ballet which was strangely inspired at an early age by his grandmother.

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Discover other collections such as 'Urban Jungle,' 'Punk Can Can' and 'Metropolis,' which tackle issues such as gender roles, ethnicity and cultural society – all recurrent themes in the works of the unconventional designer.

Over his 41-year career Gaultier has collaborated with celebrities such as Kylie Minogue, Dita Von Teese, Catherine Deneuve, even producing cinematic inspired work with Pedro Almodovar. He also created the iconic image of Madonna wearing a cone bra and lacey corset for her Blonde Ambition Tour.

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Works relating to Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Richard Avedon, Mario Testino and Pierre & Gilles are also exhibited in Spain's capital, earning the designer's worldwide reputation.

Be sure to visit Madrid for a cultural stop-off at Fundacion Mapfre in Madrid for this wonderful tribute to Jean Paul Gaultier. The exhibition runs until January 6, 2013.

Gaultier once said ‘clothes are supposed to speak’ and this is certainly the case. We are left to consider all the many questions raised by the designer, who transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.

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