THIERRY-MAXIME LO­RIOT

The fash­ion world of Thierry-maxime Lo­riot.

Neue Luxury - - Front Page - By Paola Di Troc­chio

Over the past year I’ve worked with Thierry-maxime Lo­riot to bring The Fash­ion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Side­walk to the Cat­walk to its Melbourne venue at the Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria (NGV). We ex­changed daily emails, tele­phone and skype calls, while work­ing side by side through in­stal­la­tion, along with Tanel Be­drossiantz, Thoaï Ni­radeth and Mireille Si­mon from Mai­son Jean Paul Gaultier; mas­ter hair stylist Odile Gil­bert and her team of hair­dressers in­clud­ing Tan Doan and Hugo Ra­iah and of course, spe­cial Aus­tralian mem­ber Ste­wart Gra­ham. As well as the NGV crew of in­stall­ers, builders, ex­hi­bi­tion de­sign­ers, reg­is­trars and con­ser­va­tors. The ex­hi­bi­tion was adapted for its Melbourne home from its in­car­na­tions in Lon­don, Madrid, Montreal, Stock­holm, New York, Dal­las, San Fran­cisco and Rot­ter­dam. How­ever it was the orig­i­nal con­cep­tion of Thierry-maxime Lo­riot; cu­ra­to­rial neue garde and self-con­fessed sto­ry­teller. In 2009 he be­gan to de­ci­pher the ar­chive of Jean Paul Gaultier for the first pre­sen­ta­tion of the ex­hi­bi­tion in Montreal in 2011, but he be­gan to pre­pare for his role in re­search even ear­lier. Firstly en­cour­aged by his par­ents on their fre­quent in­ter­na­tional trav­els, and then later his fash­ion in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence as a model, he has com­bined his in­ter­ests in ar­chi­tec­ture and con­tem­po­rary art with an in­sa­tiable cu­rios­ity and in­ter­est in peo­ple. Much like Gaultier him­self, Loriet shifted the land­scape of fash­ion cu­ra­to­rial prac­tice, pre­sent­ing a com­plete uni­verse of the de­signer with in­tel­li­gent the­atrics fo­cussing on ac­ces­si­bil­ity and sto­ry­telling.

THIERRY-MAXIME LO­RIOT: I laughed when I read that Paola would con­duct this in­ter­view. I thought to my­self: She is an old friend, with her it’s go­ing to be much more fun! How is the ex­hi­bi­tion go­ing in Melbourne? PAOLA DI TROC­CHIO: Re­ally well. The in­ter­est is so strong. When Stu­art Har­ri­son from the ra­dio show The Ar­chi­tects asked me when had we last done a show like this I replied, we have never done a show like this be­fore. Our last sin­gle de­signer ret­ro­spec­tive was Ver­sace in 2000, but it did not have the the­atrics of this ex­hi­bi­tion, specif­i­cally with the an­i­mated man­nequin faces, the mov­ing run­way, the mo­hawks... Did Gaultier al­low you to present the show that you wanted to present? TL: From day one he was quite open. I’m not into the clas­si­cal fash­ion ex­hi­bi­tions, I’m not a purist. An ex­hi­bi­tion should be about a per­son, a hu­man be­ing and their in­spi­ra­tions and col­lab­o­ra­tions. He col­lab­o­rated with so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple, from di­rec­tors to per­form­ers to artists. I wanted to in­te­grate these col­lab­o­ra­tions and show the ex­hi­bi­tion more like his uni­verse than some­thing chrono­log­i­cal. He had so many pas­sion­ate ob­ses­sions through­out the years that were im­por­tant to point out. He said, “just go into the ar­chives, do your re­search, have fun, we’ll dis­cuss later”. From then on every three weeks I would go to Paris and look through the ar­chives. He made it easy for me to work with him. We were on the same page from the be­gin­ning. PT: So how is the ar­chive or­gan­ised? How do you get into the ar­chive and start to work it out? TL: It is filled with racks upon racks upon racks. I’ll al­ways re­mem­ber the first time I went there, I felt like a kid. You start with 1000 ob­jects and then you try them on man­nequins, be­cause weirdly they don’t al­ways look good on a man­nequin. So you have to edit down, edit down, edit down. In some venues it was sup­posed to be 110 cos­tumes, but we have never been able to show less than 140. It’s un­usual to have such a good ar­chive. Most peo­ple, like Madonna, didn’t think to col­lect un­til later. Every­thing is very well kept. Now they know the im­por­tance of ar­chiv­ing. How­ever it’s still not every­thing. At the book sign­ing in Melbourne, a woman came up to us with a kilt made of lamé, which was from Gaultier’s Grease col­lec­tion in 1978. He was so happy and so sur­prised, be­cause he didn’t even have it in his ar­chive. He was so proud to dis­cover his first col­lec­tions were ad­mired in Aus­tralia. PT: I no­ticed there are sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the names of some of the sec­tions in the ex­hi­bi­tion, like Punk Can­can, and Gaultier’s col­lec­tion ti­tles. Is that where you looked in or­der to name the themes of the sec­tions? TL: Yes and no. In both haute cou­ture and ready-to-wear, de­sign­ers don’t al­ways name their col­lec­tions, but Gaultier likes to do it the old-fash­ioned way. In all his cou­ture col­lec­tions, he has a name for every dress and it’s al­ways some­thing very fun. He takes cou­ture very se­ri­ously. I was then in­spired to find proper ti­tles that would re­flect his uni­verse and the themes in his work. There is a sec­tion in the ex­hi­bi­tion called Boudoir, but he has never done a boudoir in­spired col­lec­tion, but we had to re­flect some­thing that was re­lated to his child­hood and to corsetry and to find the proper word. It was fun to find it. PT: I have been read­ing the book Ex­hibit­ing Fash­ion Be­fore and Af­ter 1971, which re­flects on Ce­cil Beaton’s cu­ra­tor­ship at the Vic­to­ria & Al­bert Mu­seum in 1971. I re­alised that there is an ex­tra­or­di­nary his­tor­i­cal dif­fer­ence be­tween the ex­hi­bi­tions that were cu­rated by pre­vi­ous schol­ars and the ex­hi­bi­tions that Beaton or Diana Vreeland cu­rated. There was a dy­namism and play­ful­ness in the way that Beaton and Vreeland pre­sented their ex­hi­bi­tions. Then I re­alised that both had worked in­side the fash­ion in­dus­try be­fore they cu­rated those ex­tra­or­di­nary shows. Vreeland was a for­mer Vogue edi­tor who later be­came spe­cial con­sul­tant at the Cos­tume In­sti­tute of the Metropoli­tan Mu­seum of Art. In the same vein, you have also worked in­side the fash­ion in­dus­try when you were a model. Do you see your work in the fash­ion in­dus­try as some­thing that has in­formed your work as a cu­ra­tor?

TL: Def­i­nitely. But I don’t think it’s just from my work in­side the in­dus­try. Colin Mcdow­ell paid me the nicest com­pli­ment in his ar­ti­cle in The Busi­ness of Fash­ion1. He said that the two best ex­hi­bi­tions in fash­ion his­tory are those that were cu­rated by Vreeland and mine. That’s nice, com­ing from him, it’s quite flat­ter­ing. Al­though I’m not say­ing I’m ex­actly like Vreeland. Of course work­ing in the fash­ion in­dus­try has helped me de­velop re­la­tion­ships with pho­tog­ra­phers, de­sign­ers, artists and col­lec­tors, but I con­sider my­self a sto­ry­teller. I think dif­fer­ent in­spi­ra­tions in­spire you when you work. I think you can find in­spi­ra­tion from your child­hood and past in­ter­ests. I al­ways wanted to be an ar­chi­tect, which is where the fun in ex­hi­bi­tion de­sign is. I love movies. I think we are both very lucky be­cause we are very open-minded peo­ple. I think the same can be said about Tony Ellwood and Nathalie Bondil. They are both not afraid to take risks. PT: When Philip Treacy came to Aus­tralia he said, “Mod­els are the un­sung he­roes of the fash­ion in­dus­try”. The ex­hi­bi­tion helps to draw out the cre­ative role of the model. In the in­ter­view pub­lished in the ac­com­pa­ny­ing pub­li­ca­tion, Aus­tralian model and muse Alexan­dra Agos­ton dis­cusses her role in the cre­ation of a dress. TL: Yes, it’s not only about be­ing beau­ti­ful. He’s re­ally in­ter­ested in col­lab­o­ra­tion and in­volv­ing ev­ery­one in his work. But you have to be very con­fi­dent about your­self and your work in or­der to be able to trust peo­ple and en­gage with them. That’s how I see peo­ple like Bondil and Ellwood. It’s the same thing. Bondil was in the movie in­dus­try be­fore be­com­ing a cu­ra­tor, so she trav­elled a lot and saw things. She was very open to other views. The way you are raised will also forge who you are go­ing to be­come. My par­ents were diplo­mats when I was young and were trav­el­ling all the time. For ex­am­ple, we would plan to go to Italy one sum­mer and they would tell my sib­lings and I to choose two cities each to re­search, and we would then have to con­duct a tour for the whole fam­ily. They wanted us to un­der­stand the im­por­tance of re­search, and to be in­ter­ested in other cul­tures and other peo­ple. I think my re­search comes from there. I’m more cu­ri­ous about oth­ers than about my­self.

PT: Is there a sto­ry­telling el­e­ment to mod­el­ling? TL: It de­pends on which pho­tog­ra­pher you work with. If you work with the ones who have a very strong vi­sion, like Peter Lind­bergh, then yes. Lind­bergh is re­ally the one who in­vented ed­i­to­rial sto­ry­telling at the end of the 1980s. He is some­one who was very in­flu­enced by movies and di­rec­tors such as Fritz Lang and Win Wen­ders. He’s like an artist who di­rects his sub­jects to re­flect his own vi­sion, which is why it is im­por­tant to have good mod­els. For ex­am­ple Mario Testino has worked ex­ten­sively with Kate Moss. She’s a bit like the Madonna of mod­el­ling. She is a chameleon who can trans­form from a god­dess to a punk to a house­wife. She can move to dif­fer­ent di­rec­tives. All these women have great ca­reers and there is a clear rea­son for that. PT: I also see the cu­ra­tor as a sto­ry­teller, and the ex­hi­bi­tion as sto­ry­telling with ob­jects. Con­tin­u­ing the anal­ogy with film, do you agree that an ex­hi­bi­tion should be a jour­ney, and that each the­matic sec­tion is like a dif­fer­ent act in a film? TL: Yes, that’s how I feel. It’s like a movie. An ex­hi­bi­tion is en­ter­tain­ment. Re­ally it is. You need to en­ter­tain peo­ple. You want your au­di­ence to ap­pre­ci­ate your cre­ative per­spec­tive, but some­times it’s dif­fi­cult to judge what peo­ple will re­spond to. It’s a very per­sonal process. Sim­i­lar to a movie or a book, an ex­hi­bi­tion changes ac­cord­ing to an au­di­ence’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion. You know they are out there with their own point of view. It is also about giv­ing ac­cess to the in­ac­ces­si­ble. PT: So af­ter in­stalling the ex­hi­bi­tion in eight dif­fer­ent venues, what was dif­fer­ent about work­ing at the Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria?

TL: Hon­estly, every­body has said this was the very best venue. First the ex­hi­bi­tion space is very nice and easy to work with. There are great per­spec­tives from one gallery to the other. Sec­ondly, ex­actly what I was say­ing about Ellwood is true of ev­ery­one, from you to Kather­ine Horse­man and Ingrid Rhule, to Don Heron, to ev­ery­one. Ev­ery­one is just so nice and so easy to work with. It was a true col­lab­o­ra­tion in terms of find­ing so­lu­tions to­gether. The NGV also had the whole com­mu­nity in­volved and with so many spon­sors. Gaultier was very touched to see how much he was ap­pre­ci­ated. Peo­ple were crazy for him. PT: So Paris is next, and then Mu­nich. And then is that the last one? TL: For now…!

The Fash­ion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Side­walk to the Cat­walk was open at the Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria from 17 Oc­to­ber 2014 – 8 Fe­bru­ary 2015, and will be con­tin­u­ing at the Grand Palais in Paris from 1 April – 3 Au­gust 2015.

Photo: Brooke Hold, Courtesy of The Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria.

Photo: Brooke Hold, Courtesy of The Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria.

Photo: Brooke Hold, Courtesy of The Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria. Photo: Brooke Hold, Courtesy of The Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria. Plate 01.

Foot­notes 1. See Colin Mcdow­ell, Colin’s Col­umn, ‘Jean Paul Gaultier Fash­ion In­car­nate’, The Busi­ness of Fash­ion, 7 April 2014 Im­ages Plates

Plate 01. Jean Paul Gaultier, Ap­pari­tions dress, from Les Vierges (Vir­gins) col­lec­tion haute cou­ture Spring-sum­mer, 2007. Im­ages copy­right Pa­trice Sta­ble/jean Paul Gaultier.

Plate 02. Jean Paul Gaultier, Trib­ute to Amy Wine­house, from col­lec­tion haute cou­ture Spring-sum­mer, 2012, dress with ex­ag­ger­ated hipline com­bin­ing flower-mo­tif silk em­broi­dery, mul­ti­col­ored lac­ings and metal. Im­ages copy­right Pa­trice Sta­ble/jean Paul Gaultier.

WWW.NGV.VIC.GOV.AU/JEANPAULGAULTIER

Plate 02.

Photo: Peter Lind­bergh.

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