I was glad I had the opportunity to see the Jean Paul Gautier exhibit before it finished it's stint at the DeYoung in San Francisco this week. At first you would guess that the talking mannequins would be the talk of the show. Yes the special affects will leave a lasting impression for a lifetime. But it hardly steals the thunder from the creations themselves. Truly a feast for the senses, My fingers were itching to examine the outfits close up, and I constantly had to remind myself that I was in a museum where the "do not touch" rule reigns. The man is an incredible genius in the way he marrys his designs with exotic materials and a bit of humor. That is not to mention the presentation, which is a whole other discussion in itself. He is definitely the whole ball of wax. But it was his focus on detail that overwhelmed and over wowed me. So imaginative and so masterful, you need to linger on each creation in order to fully absorb and appreciate the breadth of it, and even then, there will probably be a detail that you missed. Talking mannequins, wedding dress, dress of pheasant feathers and a hat made of tortoise shell combs
An inspiration for any designer, I felt the challenge to create something ala Jean Paul Gautier, leading me to that age old question- what came first the chicken or the egg? Did he find an old bag of collected sea shells that inspired him to create an evening gown? Or did he have a vision of a dress bodice cloaked in mother of pearl that sent him on a shell gathering mission? I like to think that he had a collection of found objets stashed away in his atelier, awaiting a useful and creative purpose.
Atleast that's what prompted me to go through my studio drawers and closets to see what I had hidden away. OMG, Gautier would have a field day with some of the stuff I found. Glass beads, crystals, metallic studs, wood turnings, and a plethora of hardware essentials ie, screws, nuts, bolts, and a lot of whatchamacallits. Why have I been saving all this stuff? I guess it's an old habit I picked up as an art teacher way back when. Surely my fascination with all this new found paraphernalia is bound to give me the incentive to create something new. Maybe I'll create a sculpture in the way of wall art or possibly design a furniture piece. Don't be surprised if you see a new Susan Goldstick console table inlaid with toy wooden wheels. Yep you guessed it. I found a whole box of them!