Student visit exhibition of pop fashion icon Jean Paul Gaultier

His controversial and edgy designs attracted the attention of “Material Girl” Madonna. Tuesday night, Jean Paul Gaultier captured the interest of 70 TCU fashion merchandising students during their trip to the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art, Sally Fortenberry said.

Fortenberry, an associate professor of merchandising and textiles, said it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the students and said she hoped the exhibition gave them a broader perspective on fashion and its global impact.

“Fashion is the common denominator in the world because every culture has its own fashion,” Fortenberry said.

Kelsey Hickox, a junior fashion merchandising major, said she felt lucky to have had the opportunity to see Gaultier’s work.

Part of studying fashion merchandising is knowing trends of the past and the history behind the major, she said. It allowed students to appreciate the field and the art.

According to the Dallas Museum of Art’s website, the exhibition highlighted Gualtier’s influence on pop culture with 130 haute couture dresses and ready-to-wear pieces. The exhibition was also the first to showcase the designs of the world-renowned French fashion icon.

Hickox said she was left in awe by Gaultier’s talent and the way he used the body as a canvas to express how he saw the world. She said she thought the mark he left on the world of fashion would last forever. 

Fortenberry said the cycle of trends in fashion is now much quicker, and today Gaultier’s influence could be seen particularly in stripes, animal print and military style.

Fortenberry identified Gaultier as controversial with his designs because they intended to be “androgynous” for both men and women. She said he was particularly gifted in his design of kilts for men.

Hickox also noticed his controversial and provocative style and said it was clear he was never scared to push the limits of society norms.

Beside the significance of the exhibition to the fashion and art world, Fortenberry said the exhibition was particularly important to showcase technology and its impact on how society experiences art today.

There were 30 animated, talking mannequins with video segments highlighting unconventional beauty standards that were projected onto each mannequins face.

According to the Houston Chronicle, The mannequins were the most obvious example of how the exhibit conveyed Gaultier’s vision.

Junior fashion merchandising major Adrienne Merrick said the mannequins impressed her and described them as “quirky and weird, but awesome.”

Merrick said Gualtier and the exhibit left a big impression and she could see herself and her style in his designs.

According to the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas is the first of only two cities in the United States on the exhibit’s international tour.

Fortenberry said she would encourage all non-fashion major students to see the exhibition because his creative sense had a wide appeal.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
Where: Dallas Museum of Art
When: Through February 12, 2012
Cost:     weekend/weekday
Adults:       $20    /$16
Students with ID: $12    /$12
For additional info, visit