|Jean Paul Gaultier at the preview of his exhibit at Brooklyn Museum. As close as I could get!|
Talk about serendipity.
Nearly two weeks ago, at the preview of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, now on view at Brooklyn Museum, I wanted to speak to Mr. Gaultier just to tell him how much I loved the entire exhibit, but the crowds were too thick—photographers, TV camera crews, reporters. So I let it go and just enjoyed the inspiring remarks he made to the press, took plenty of notes, and left it at that.
I went to the Manhattan Vintage Show three days later, which I attended with my photographer friend Denton Taylor and his wife Teresa. While we were at one of the booths admiring clothes I looked up to see Jean Paul Gaultier a few stalls down, looking over an item. No entourage, just him and a friend. I instantly knew it was him but no one else seemed to guess who was in our midst. They probably weren’t expecting an iconic fashion designer to turn up at the show but I knew he was in town to help open the exhibit so it didn’t seem surprising to me that he’d also want to check out the vintage offerings on display. What made it seem fateful for me was that literally, two minutes before, I had been admiring a slinky black Jean Paul Gaultier dress, with quilted bra cups, bien sûr, that one of the vintage vendors had for sale.
I don’t typically approach famous people outside of press previews, but this seemed like the universe was giving me a rare second chance to do what I had originally wanted to do, so against my normal restraint, I went for it.
“Mr. Gaulter?” I said.
He looked up. “Yes?”
I got to tell him how much I enjoyed the exhibit, and how, as the daughter of a former U.S. Navy sailor, I particularly loved the sailor clothes on display. I also told him I was wearing stripes that day in honor of him, which was true, I had on a blue and white striped shirt and when I put it on that morning I instantly thought of him. I pulled my peacoat back to show Mr. Gaultier my stripes and he laughed.
He was very nice about it all, thanking me, and telling me he was heading back to Paris that night. When we parted he said, “Enchanté,” and “Au revoir.”
I do love a charming Frenchman, let me tell you.
Luckily Denton got a shot of me talking to him. He’s smiling because I am piling on the compliments! All of which were true, his clothes have inspired me since I was 20 years old.
|Meeting JPG at the Manhattan Vintage Show! Photo by Denton Taylor.|
Have you ever gotten to meet somebody whose work you admire?