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A Visual Tour of the John Paul Gaultier Exhibit at the DeYoung Museum

We took advantage of a recent Sunday afternoon to check out The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, the stunning — and eye-opening — exhibit at DeYoung Museum paying homage to the rule-changing and legendary French designer. The multimedia exhibit includes 140 haute couture and prêt-à-porter designs from the openly gay designer who discounted any and all fashion credos and created his own world of fashion with highly feminized lines, provocative gender-bending styles and masterfully crafted intricately beaded gowns. And as a plus, we got to see some of the trademark pointy brazierres worn by Madonna on her Like a Virgin tour!

Below, we share some of our favorite pieces from the mesmerizing exhibit – one that ultimately made us realize how much more than pretty things fashion can really be about.

Some spectacular detail shots: 

And maybe our favorite corner of the extensive exhibit: a glass-encased display of Madonna’s Gaultier pieces from her 1990 Blonde Ambition World Tour!

The corset-style bodysuit worn during her “Like a Virgin” segment.

An original sketch by Gaultier.

A chromogenic print of Madonna in the corset-style bodysuit in 1990.

A display of Gaultier’s ever-popular perfumes.

On top of Gaultier’s industry-changing fashion came take-your-breath-away designs with extravagant beading, unbelievably intricate pattern design and an overall beauty you didn’t even know was possible. Here are some of our favorite couture gowns from the exhibit.

Perhaps one of his most famous pieces was Gaultier’s “leopard skin” beaded evening gown with rhinestone claws. The haute couture piece from 1997 is taffeta embroidered with beads and rhinestones. Time needed to create: 1,006 hours.

The “Gaina” gown from the Tribute to Ukraine and Russia collection in 2005. Time needed to create: 242 hours.