SEX… in a fashion

The DMA’s exhibit on the fashions of Jean Paul Gaultier exudes sex appeal with a big dose of flamboyance

Fashion-1

DRESSED TO KILL IT | Gay fashion pioneer Jean Paul Gaultier oversees his own exhibit (Below) as an Animatronic mannequin, a fascinating technology that only accentuates the brilliance of the designs. (Photography by Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

 

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

For a man best known for creating the Valkyrie-like conical breastplate that shot Madonna into the pop culture stratosphere, Jean Paul Gaultier is a surprisingly humble person. While he’s clearly delighted to have his fashions on display — as they are at the Dallas Museum of Art in the traveling exhibit The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, which runs through February — he makes one thing plain: He does not consider fashion “art.”

“My work is not art,” he says flatly. “My job is to make clothes that have to be worn. My role is not to create in the abstract but to be inspired by the needs and desires of the people. So I am in service to that. Art is art — it is a personal vision of the artist.” He pauses, then adds with a smile, “My collections are my babies, though.”

While the designer himself may not consider his work product “art” in an academic sense, there are probably few who would agree with him. More so than most fashion designers, Jean Paul Gaultier’s style is instantly recognizable, even without seeing the label.

He almost single-handedly moved the bustier from the boudoir to the arena stage, cladding Madonna in a corset for her Blonde Ambition tour in 1990, immediately making legends of them both.

It’s not just brassieres, but lace bodysuits, silk leotards, men in skirts — Gaultier takes fashion rules and sets them on their heads, turning out wearable art (there, we said it) that is both old-fashioned, even classical, and futuristic — but always oozing sex.

“My love for fashion belongs to the fact I saw a movie from the 1940s when I was 12,” he says. “In the movie, they did a beautiful description of couture.” (Now, when he works with a film director — as he did recently with Pedro Almodovar on The Skin I Live In, or Luc Besson on several films — “it is like I return to that [moment]”.)

But really, the germ of his style was started by what a pre-teen Jean Paul found in his grandmother’s wardrobe.

“I was fascinated by the whole world of my grandmother’s closet — it was beautiful and different,” he says. “It was underwear that could be worn as outerwear. I stole my ideas from her.”

Though not just her. Gaultier was inspired by television, by old movies, by showgirls — anything that offered a view of beauty he could re-imagine on the runway.

“My definition of beauty — there’s not one type. Beauty is beauty — you can find it in different places,” he says.

It’s a keystone not only of his design style, but of the DMA’s astonishingly exciting exhibit. (Anyone who doesn’t think a Gaultier gown deserves formal museum treatment obviously hasn’t seen the show.) In just a handful of rooms, we move from camp to punk — with many, many visits to edgy haute couture.

In the first gallery, visitors are introduced to Gaultier himself, talking about his fashions via a quasi-Animatronic mannequin that captures his actual face and voice, projected with unnerving authenticity. That happens with a lot of the mannequins, some of whom seem to look back, even judge you. (One Mohawk’d man in tights and a codpiece seemed to be flirting with me; I bet he does that with all the boys.) Lanky sailor boys in striped Apaché T-shirts look as if they leaped from a Tom of Finland drawing; that cone bra is also unmistakable.

Walk further, and the second room oozes the dark romance of a bordello, approximating (with its window-like display cases) the red-light district of Amsterdam. “I think when you exit this room, they should give you a cigarette,” I told another patron. She didn’t disagree.

Another room shows the movement of the pieces, sort of, with a moving catwalk that is like a time machine of Gaultier runway fashions, including representative designs from his famous Men in Skirts that took MOMA by storm some years ago. That’s only the most obvious example of the genderbending that is a Gaultier hallmark — and a central theme of the sexual forthrightness of the DMA’s exhibit.

“Androgyny is part of the thing that interests me,” he says, “that moment when the young can pass to adolescence [and] their beauty is between feminine and masculine at the same time. I use it to show in reality how [both sexes] can assume [the identity of the other sex]. In Scotland, you will see me in kilts and they are very masculine — it’s not feminine to wear a skirt [in that context].”

That, Gaultier says, is the essence of freedom, showing that “men can cry just as well as women can fight.”

And this exhibit shows that a designer can be an artist with a bold sense of sex — even if he doesn’t think so.

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ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

Visit DallasVoice. com/ category/ Photos to see more of the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

What’s Shakin’ – Wolfman at Wortham, Vampires on Pacific St.

The Wolfman1. If you got your hard-core Halloween partying out of the way this weekend, why not curl up under the stars (and a blanket) for the 1941 horror classic “The Wolfman,” at the Miller Outdoor Theater in Herman Park. Show starts at 7:30 pm. In this version the Wolfman (Lon Chaney Jr.) has an estranged father, frequents antique stores, caries an ornate walking stick for no particular reason and (of course) engages in nocturnal behavior of a hairy and bestial sort. Sounds like some of my friends. Admission is free, but prime spots on the lawn fill up quickly so arrive early.

2. If you didn’t get your hard-core partying out of the way then you’ll be glad to know that the clubs of Pacific street are still going strong. JR’s Bar‘s “Anytheme Goes” party (808 Pacific) and Meteor‘s “True Blood” festivities (2306 Genesee) continue tonight with a costume contests at 11 pm, while South Beach‘s “Twilight” fete (810 Pacific) waits till midnight for its contest . Cash prizes are up for grabs at all three for best costume, best couple or group and most outrageous costume.

3. Broadway World reports that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D – NY, plans to introduce the Senate companion to the “Every Child Deserves a Family Act” introduced by Rep. Pete Stark, D – CA, last May. The bill would remove barriers to otherwise qualified LGBT parents servings as foster parents or adopting. “By removing all barriers for LGBT families to serve as foster parents, New York City has increased its foster parent pool by nearly 26,000 prospective parents,” said Gillibrand. This legislation would open thousands of new foster and adoptive homes to children ensuring they are raised in loving families.” So far only three of Texas’ thirty-two congressional representatives, including Houston’s own Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, have signed on as cosponsors.

 

—  admin

Matt Barber called equality activists ‘purveyors of evil’. But yea, it probably is the SPLC that deserves scorn. Uh huh. Sure.

Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel and Associate Dean with Liberty University School of Law, is among the most incendiary Matt-Barbervoices in the “pro-family” movement. Examples: There was the time Matt said that gay male relationships constitute “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love’”; the time Matt called President Barack Obama an anti-american enemy; the time he accused Obama and Barney Frank of being anti-religious bigots; the time he suggested there are “sinister motives” in the Obama White House; the time he agreed with TVC’s Andrea Lafferty that homosexuality is “among a litany of…sexual deviances” that include things like sex with an amputee’s stump and sexual behavior involving feces and urine; the time he likened pro-equality progressives to Fred “God Hates F*gs” Phelps; the time he referred to marriage equality advocates as “purveyors of evil“; the time he compared gay unions to marrying a house plant; the time he said Ellen Degeneres “guides her many adoring housewife fans into rebellion against God’s divine and explicit natural order”; the time he called Google “satanic” for supporting marriage equality; the time he accused gay-friendly media outlets of trying “to make the absurd appear reasonable and normal”; etc., etc.

Now, in a completely self-unaware turn, the undeniably homo-hostile Matt is jumping in to support those groups (like the Family Research Council) who the Southern Poverty Law Center has added to their latest hate groups list. Here’s a brief snip:

Of course, the tired goal of this silly meme is to associate in the public mind’s eye mainstream conservative social values with racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazism. The ironic result, however, is that, as typically occurs with such ad hominem and hyperbolic attacks, the attacker ends up marginalizing himself and galvanizing his intended target (I’m rubber, you’re glue and all that).

Hence, beyond a self-aggrandizing liberal echo chamber, the SPLC – and by extension the greater “progressive” movement – has become largely, as it stews in its own radicalism, just another punch line.

It’s often said that the first to call the other a Nazi has lost the argument.

Congratulations, conservative America: They’re calling you a Nazi. Carry on.

BARBER: SPLC: The wolf who cried ‘hate’ [Wash Times]

Well, actually SPLC isn’t calling anyone a Nazi. But you know who totally does elicit Nazi-dom in his own rhetoric? Bryan Fischer from the American Family Association:

Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews. Gays in the military is an experiment that has been tried and found disastrously and tragically wanting. Maybe it’s time for Congress to learn a lesson from history.” [SOURCE]

And yet the AFA is the other newly-listed group besides FRC that Matt specifically defends in his above Wash. Times piece! Because again: Unawareness and logical inconsistency rule the far-right day. These folks love to blow smoke into the dog whistles, but they go absolutely apepoop angry when their critics listen in to their dish.

The funny thing? Matt’s Liberty Counsel group was specifically left off the SPLC’s list. They were mentioned, but not added. Does Matt really want to tempt that fate by adding more light to his litany of aggressive insults? Because we’re totally okay with that, if he does. We just wonder if the Liberty Counsel’s benefactors, present or future, really see this as smart strategy.




Good As You

—  admin

FRC’s Tony Perkins: Our Hate Speech Deserves To Be Heard On NPR

“This week another group that demands the celebration of homosexuality called on National Public Radio to exclude the viewpoint of Family Research Council and other conservatives because we ‘have nothing productive to bring to the table.’

“We are all agreed that every suicide by a ‘gay’-identified teenager is a tragedy. And there are not two sides to the issue of bullying–we are all agreed that no one deserves to be bullied and that bullies should be punished. But there most certainly are two sides to the claims that orthodox theology and pro-family public policies are to blame for such bullying and such suicides, and the media has an obligation to air both sides, not just attacks by homosexual activists. In their definition of tolerance, the truth that would prevent a young person entering into homosexuality, or that change is possible for those seeking to leave the homosexual lifestyle, must be silenced.” – Family Research Council head Tony Perkins.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

HRC thinks Obama deserves our ‘gratitude’ for how he botched DADT repeal

The Human Rights Campaign, which now is apparently a subsidiary of the Obama campaign, today issued a statement – get this – blasting a lead gay veterans group fighting DADT, and praising President Obama’s great leadership on repealing DADT.

And what did the President do on DADT to earn our community’s “gratitude”?  He let himself get rolled repeatedly by his own Secretary of Defense (yes, Gates and Mullen gave great testimony, then Gates proceeded to undercut repeal every step of the way, and Obama sat there and let him). Obama also sat back while the legislation died in the Senate.  He didn’t make one God damn phone call to even one Senator the day the DADT compromise was filibustered to death.  But that same day our self-proclaimed “fierce advocate” did find time to phone a women’s basketball team. Maybe if more gay and lesbian servicemembers, who are busy risking their lives for our country, took up basketball they could get on the President’s phone card.

Praising what Barack Obama has done on DADT – a promise that is now quite likely dead for years to come because the President refused to do anything until the last minute, refused to stand up to his own Secretary of Defense, refused to personally lift a finger to get even one vote in the Senate.  HRC is “grateful” for this?

Praising Barack Obama for continuing to defend DADT in court, for continuing to undermine our entire legal strategy on not just DADT, but DOMA too. For refusing to stop the discharges of gay and lesbian servicemembers while we’re waiting for the legislation that will never come? That’s what HRC is praising? Seriously? I get that the White House got HRC Valerie Jarrett, at the very last minute, so their dinner wouldn’t be a total bust, but come on – the quid pro quo is praising where we are on DADT when we just freaking lost?

The words irrational, unprofessional, and unproductive come to mind.

Someone needs to remind the Human Rights Campaign exactly who it is they work for. Because somewhere along the way they got it in their heads that their boss is Barack Obama and the Democratic party, not America’s LGBT community.

HRC needs to get its head out of the Democratic party’s ass and start acting like it cares about our civil rights. Because this is bullshit. After everything this White House has done to sabotage our agenda – we aren’t getting DADT, ENDA or DOMA now, and if we lose the House, we may not get it for decades (though, honestly, even if we kept the House we probably wouldn’t see any of those three for years and years to come because Democrats find our civil rights “icky”) – HRC is actually praising where we are, and thanking this incredibly un-fierce President for getting us into this mess in the first place?

Here is HRC’s response to a lead DADT repeal group simply asking that White House adviser Valerie Jarrett meet with gay vets before she speaks at HRC’s dinner:

Fred Sainz, HRC’s vice president of communications, issued a strongly worded response on Saturday.

“These latest hijinks by Nicholson are part of a troubling pattern of irrational, unprofessional, and unproductive behavior,” Sainz said. “[Nicholson's] rant is also without substance. The Administration helped to craft the legislation that was successfully voted on by the House and the Senate Armed Services Committee. Never before has a Defense Secretary or a Joint Chiefs chairman publicly supported repeal. This president got them there, and for that, he deserves our gratitude.”

Sainz added that the target of ire “should be Senate Republicans who will no doubt once again try to scuttle this issue during the lame duck session.”

What’s really sad, and really duplicitous, about this statement is that HRC knows the President f’d up. They knew he never had any intention of passing the DADT legislation before the Pentagon completed its study (conveniently after the November elections when it will be too late to pass anything for years to come). HRC knew, and enabled from the beginning, the President’s betrayal of his word to our community. That’s why HRC President Joe Solmonese repeatedly told the community to stop complaining about DADT – the President has a plan, Joe told us, DADT will be repealed this year, Joe claimed. No he didn’t, and no it won’t. And HRC knew it all along.

Joe and HRC knew that our community was being played by this President and they didn’t just cover it up, they helped it happen. That’s why HRC feels the need to praise what Obama didn’t do on DADT. If they told you the truth, that they aided and abetted one of the biggest legislative disasters in the history of our movement – imagine, we got nothing, no DADT, no DOMA, no ENDA, with a new and wildly popular president, super-majorities in the House and Senate, a GOP opposition in ruins, and DADT repeal at 70% in the polls – no one would give them another dime.

PS I wonder if HRC thinks the President also deserves our gratitude for refusing to stop the discharges?




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Like DADT Repeal, Immigration Reform Deserves Congressional Attention

As HRC fights to get the Senate to take up the FY 2011 Defense Authorization bill, which contains language to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), Senate Majority Leader Reid has also made clear that he wants to offer an amendment to the Defense bill that would make undocumented youth eligible for a path to citizenship as they complete a college degree or two years of military service (the “DREAM Act”).  While it is obvious why repealing DADT is important to the LGBT community, reforming our nation’s broken immigration system is important to our community as well.

On Sunday, March 21, 2010, members and supporters of HRC joined hundreds of organizations in the March for America to call on Congress and President Obama to fix our country’s broken immigration system.  Since then, HRC has loudly spoken out against the draconian measures taken in Arizona to criminalize an entire class of human beings.  When four students from Florida – Felipe Matos, Gaby Pacheco, Carlos Roa, and Juan Rodriguez – embarked on a 1500-mile journey from Miami to our nation’s capitol to spotlight the DREAM Act, HRC hosted these students in DC. 

Why is HRC interested in these issues?  Because, like the LGBT community, the undocumented immigrant community is often marginalized by society.  It is exposed to deep-seeded hatred, discrimination and hate violence – issues that are all too familiar to the LGBT community.  In addition, much like the pre-Lawrence sodomy statutes that criminalized lesbian and gay relationships, measures such as the draconian Arizona law dehumanize and criminalize an entire community of people based on their actual or perceived immigration status.  Like DADT repeal, immigration reform proposals, such the DREAM Act, deserve the attention of Congress.  As we at HRC work to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, we will continue to support our friends working to reform our broken immigration system.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright