Monday, November 4, 2013

Meeting Gaultier

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?


denton said...

Such a great story! Makes you wonder how many other famous designers stop into Manhattan Vintage. Anyone who happens to be in NYC during these shows should try and check it out, fabulous high quality stuff, definitely not a flea market.

silkpathdiary said...

Quelle chance! So glad you spoke to him. I also have strong memories of him in the 80's in the fashion media and with Madonna of course.
No, I wouldn't dare approach anyone, I just worship from afar :-)

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

Love that you have a picture to document it!!! That is fabulous.
Normally you just have a story but yuou have evidence ;P xx

Aya in Couturgatory said...

Oh how lovely! I'm so glad you got to meet one of your longtime style inspirations. I'm glad he got to meet you, too!

Paula said...

I am sitting here with a big smile on my face and I almost giggle, because I love your story so much. Thank you!
Lucky you!

Kelly Jackson said...

SO cool that you got to chat with him in a less busy forum, Jill! And that you have a pic! Did you see Shelley's post from Forest Hill Fashionista about meeting the designer? She has a pic too. :) Haven't met anyone whose work I admire - now you have me thinking: who would I like to meet?? Xo

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

I adore this story Jill! It brought be so much pleasure to envision you speaking to him and enjoying every second...just like a movie encounter. I am so proud of you for having the courage to speak with him Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Jill, you have the most fun! Great story.


Anonymous said...

I love the story and am pleased you took the opportunity to speak with him! It's not every day one gets to chat with a famous designer.

Suzanne Carillo Style Files said...

What wonderful happenstance! Lucky lucky you.


Tamera Beardsley said...

Such an exciting encounter!

Inner Outer Beauty said...

a fantastic story! xo Caroline

Paula Ruta said...

LUCKY YOU! What a thrill--of a lifetime! Xoxo

une femme said...

Wow, how wonderful that you were able to speak with him!! He looks like he's really enjoying the conversation.

kim at northerncalstyle. said...

Wow, so cool Jill! I love the picture. He looks like a nice guy. Good eye! I am lucky to be able to spot celebs too when no one else does. My husband hates it when I say hi. I figure why not?

Once, when I was young, I had my nails done in a salon next to Audrey Hepburn and she was very nice and smiled. I never had the guts to tell her how much I admired her. I regret that and swore I'd never blow a chance like that again.

Good for you for doing it.

Jill said...

Thanks for the nice comments everybody. And Kim, what? Sat next to Audrey Hepburn as a child while getting your nails done? Wow! I think you should write about this on your blog if you haven't already and point in the direction of the link if you have. What a story! XO, Jill