Seeing these amazing compilations of these designers’ work is truly worth a trip to New York City if you don’t reside in the area, as my scant array of images barely suffices to immerse you in them. Below, a condensed synopsist of each one:
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk (now through February 23, 2014)
If you think you know the major design tropes of Jean Paul Gaultier; think again! This traveling exhibit, which finally has landed in Brooklyn, possesses a wide span of his work, broken into themes rather than chronologically, explored his incredible range and inspiration, which stretched far beyond the concepts of nautical, corsets, and religious motifs. Sure, you’ll find the corset Madonna wore on the Blonde Ambition tour (pictured above), but also an ode to cultures and myths around the globe such as tribute to Africa, India, punk can can, sirens, and samurai that brings intricate detailing and couture techniques front and center.
One of the most amazing aspects of the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit for me is the layout; hardly any of the pieces are concealed behind glass, room after room chock full of fresh ideas are revealed, and the use of technology is permitted; everywhere around me, smartphones were out and at the ready, including mine, to capture the incredibly deft aesthetic hand of JPG. At the start of the exhibit, most people starred in awe at a different kind of technology: the use of projectors shining images onto the faces of the mannequins that gave them the ability to talk, sing, wink, and pout.
Jewels by JAR (now through March 9th)
Your imagination is needed to envision the world of JAR, jeweler Joel A. Rosenthal‘s first-ever retrospective of over 395 works in the course of 35 years, heavily focused on flora and fauna, which are so delicately sculptural and lifelike that only the brilliance of the gems emanating from them will reveal their true nature as jewelry. Rosenthal, a native New Yorker who resides in Paris and has operated a discerning shop out of the Place Vendôme in Paris for decades is a bit of an anomaly in this day and age; his small shop is the only way to purchase his jewels, is by appointment only, and he is selective as to who he even sells his pieces to! With each one being an original, highly crafted work of fine jewelry, it’s no wonder JAR is one of the most coveted and respected jewelry brands in the world.
Rubies and sapphires are combined in a rose brooch to give it an ever so slight gradient hue, while a snake necklace gleams with sapphires, amethysts, and diamonds, while even if you are as extreme as Indiana Jones with a bad case of ophiophobia, I still think you’d want this fine reptile to rest around your clavicle. He humorously interjects objects uncommon to jewelry, such as asparagus, weeping willows, and a fibula into brooches and earrings, proving that luxury doesn’t always have to take itself so seriously. See the slideshow at The New York Times for more images from the Jewels by JAR exhibit.