When anyone mentions Jean Paul Gaultier probably the first thing that springs to mind is Madonna and her conical bras and corsets worn for her Blond Ambition Tour in 1990, or the iconic perfume bottle shaped as a male or female torso that can be found in most department stores and duty free lounges across the globe.
This only makes up a small part of the retrospective which is currently on at the Barbican Centre. You are guided through the clothing which takes inspiration from nautical stripes, religion to street culture.
The thing that struck me most about the clothing on display was the intricate detailing from pearls, feathers, lace to embroidery and the way this was mixed with innovative techniques such as laser cutting. This attention to detail is the link between all of Gaultier's collections.
He is also an innovator when it comes to selecting people for his shows. Most brands go for the 'safe option' for their catwalk and advertising campaigns, but for Gaultier:
'Perfection is relative and beauty is subjective. I wanted to make imperfection admirable... Sometimes a different energy and bearing, or an unusual type of body catches my eye and makes we want to invent something. With both haute couture and pret-a-porter, I've always tried to create collections that could speak to all kinds of men and women of different ages and styles'.
Perhaps some of Jean Paul Gaultier's contemporaries should take note.
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is on at the Barbican from the 9 April 2014 - 25 August 2014