Jean-Paul Gauthier Grand Palais, Paris 2015

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A participatory installation, highlighting the French “enfant-rebelle” of fashion and his in-your-face approach with haute couture.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts invited Moment Factory to bring our expertise in participatory installations to the visitor experience of their Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition. Since its 2011 launch, the show has toured the world, including (in April 2015) a stop in Paris at the Grand Palais. To be able to contribute to this exhibition showcasing his work, it was important to understand not only Gaultier’s fashion, but how he saw the world. Since the client gave us “carte blanche” for the project orientation, we stepped up to engage with the content and spirit of the exhibition and devised an experience that is thoroughly integrated into not only Gaultier’s world, but also the architectural experience of the space. Working closely with the curators at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the onsite team at the Grand Palais, we developed a concept to activate the Escalier des Arts, a staircase located in between the first and second floors of the museum. Contrasting the classic baroque lines of the undulating staircase with imagery reminiscent of Gaultier’s in-your-face approach to haute couture, the installation evokes a boldness fit for the couturier’s world. As visitors reach the top of the staircase, they are face to face with a screen. Standing before the installation, which functions like a mirror reflecting Gaultier’s vision, visitors see themselves as Gaultier would see them. After all, the ‘enfant-rebelle’ couturier is famous for finding his muses in everyday life. In reflecting on the exhibition, it was important for visitors to be able to see the relationship between their unique beauty and the fashion as something to be worn. Participatory technology could play a key role in making this connection. Our installation created an essential link in the exhibition between everyday muse and affectionately inspired garment. To date, the exhibition has received 1.5 million visitors, each taking their catwalk moment before the mirror.