After a Fashion

Your Style Avatar takes on Jean Paul Gaultier and wins

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, Dallas Museum of Art
"The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier," Dallas Museum of Art (Photo courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art)


Just back from "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk" at the Dallas Museum of Art, and my head is still spinning from the divinity. Gaultier's talent is limitless, and he proves it with room after room of dazzling and outré styles that both shock and delight. Jacki Oh and I planned the trip. The day we were leaving, Neil Diaz called to ask if I were going to Dallas with Gail Chovan. I had no idea Gail was going to the museum, too. She was indeed in Dallas and planning to attend the exhibition the next day! Yippee! My two favorite Austin fashion icons accompanying me to a once-in-a-lifetime fashion event. Jacki and I drove up Thursday night and stayed at the fabulous mid-century home of my sister Margaret's best friend, E.A. Srere. In addition to being an attorney and judge, E.A. is a magnificent chef with a state-of-the-art kitchen that is distinctly not mid-century – more like next-century. We arrived late, ate like we were starving, and visited for a while before going to bed, almost too excited about the exhibition to sleep. Upon rising, I called Gail and we met at the museum, she with her hostess, Haven, and Jacki and I with our hostess, E.A. As soon as we entered the exhibition, the swooning began. The beaded vest and matching chaps from the 1989 men's prêt-à-porter Western Baroque collection is staggeringly luxe with beads on lace over damask. From the 2011-2012 Black Swan collection for women, chaps appeared again – traditional pin-striped menswear chaps, topping incredible tooled leather boots that laced up over the knee. The mannequins (the one with chaps had hair styled in the shape of a cowboy hat!) had video-mapped faces that made them so alive – like at Disney World's Pirates of the Caribbean ride – with blinking eyes and mouths that opened. Though stunning and fascinating, they were also kind of creepy. The mermaid dresses with conch shells over the bust were beaded and sequined in fish scales. Gaultier himself was video-mapped, talking to us about what he was wearing – his ubiquitous horizontally striped sailor jumper over wide-legged pants – noting that he had designed the outfit for an interview with Lady Gaga. Guess the shirt brought JPG luck. Now Gaga can still be Madonna. I can't describe every outfit, but the show was an overwhelming, spectacular tribute to Gaultier and his work. After the show, Gail invited all of us up to her suite, and Haven ordered an extravagant late lunch for all. Gail was in the extraordinarily lush Rock Star suite at Hotel Zaza, a two-bedroom suite decked out in rock & roll memorabilia. I found it interesting that there was a large bowl of chocolate doubloons to nibble on, each one looking like a Kennedy half-dollar. Since Dallas will forever be associated with JFK's assassination, the treats seemed a bit bizarre. Gail and Haven went shopping at Neiman Marcus, so E.A., Jacki, and I retired to E.A.'s house for a nap before we had to get up and get ready for the burlesque convention at the House of Blues, where our friend, the gorgeous Eva Strangelove, was performing. Haven arranged entry to the House of Blues' Foundation Club, as well as VIP seats for the burlesque show. E.A. declined the invitation to go out with us that night, so Jacki and I dressed to thrill and hit the town. We had a terrific time, notably because our outfits caused flurries of attention ("You look fabulous; may I have my picture taken with you?"). While our favorite outfits have been seen in Austin so much, Dallas hadn't seen them, and we were prepared to dazzle. Haven was there, though Gail declined, and at the end of the evening, we were ready for some serious relaxation. While debating whether to call a taxi or ask E.A. to pick us up, Haven suggested that we stay right where Gail was – at the Hotel Zaza. So we did, sleeping in Zaza's ultraluxurious beds and ordering late-night snacks. We slept until noon, and E.A. picked us up so we could spend our remaining hours with her, eating, chatting, and napping. Jacki and I still had stars in our eyes as we drove home Saturday night.

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Jean-Paul Gaultier, Dallas Museum of Art, Gail Chovan, Western Baroque, Black Swan, Pirates of the Caribbean, video-mapped, Lady Gaga, Hotel Zaza

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