Thursday, October 23, 2014


Last Saturday I decided to meet up with a friend of mine, Jasmine; for brunch and a trip to the National Gallery of Victoria for The Fashion World Of Jean Paul Gaultier, which recently opened. The NGV is located on St. Kilda Road, quite close to the city so there we a multitude of brunch options for us to choose from. It ended up being a toss up between The Kettle Black in South Melbourne and Jardin Tan, which is located at the entrance to the Royal Botanic Gardens. As neither of us had been to Jardin Tan before, we decided to check it out. 

Getting off the '1' tram from Albert Park, it hadn’t occurred to me that the walk from the NGV to Jardin Tan was a little longer than I initially thought, so when I arrived I immediately grabbed a fresh homemade strawberry sparkling water. Jas arrived a few minutes later and after what seemed like an hour of chatting between us and three attempts by the waiter to take our order, we finally decided on some share dishes from the main menu as breakfast had finished at 11.30. Yes Melbourne you read that correct, Jardin Tan finishes breakfast at 11.30. I personally don’t know anywhere that finishes breakfast before 2pm in this city so whoever made that decision needs a good speaking to.

The cafe itself is large and quite open, so I opted for a table in the courtyard out back. It was a beautiful day, if not a tad overcast – but beautiful nonetheless. We started off with some coffees, which came out exactly how we wanted them; mine was nice and hot just how I like it. We ordered the Chả cá chiên giòn, which is prawn & sweet potato fritters, finished with a green chili pickle on the side. Next we ordered the Bánh xèo, which is a Pork, shrimp and bean sprout mix encased in a crispy pancake. The dish came with large iceberg lettuce leaves and coriander and I enjoyed breaking bits of the pancake off and wrapping it all up with some spicy sauce. Delicious. Along with a Vietnamese slaw, our last dish was the Gà chiên. Fried pieces of chicken, accompanied with Jardin Tan's firecracker sauce. These were scrumptious, more-ish and were given a real hot kick when dipped in the firecracker sauce.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk features more than 140 ensembles with accessories, both from the designer’s couture collections and his retail offerings. Created between 1970 and 2014, these pieces, as well as many other objects included in the display, have for the most part never been exhibited before. 

The exhibition celebrates the designer’s daring inventiveness and cutting-edge style through seven themes tracing influences on his creative development, from the streets of Paris to the world of science fiction. Fashion photography is also a major focus of attention, thanks to loans from contemporary photographers and renowned artists of both the artist and his work. 

The exhibit is broken into seven distinct sections entitled Odyssey, The Boudoir, Punk Cancan, Skin Deep, Metropolis, Urban Jungle and Muses. Each section was housed in its own separate room and each was designed with the Gaultier aesthetic in mind. Odyssey was all about Gaultiers childhood influences. The Boudoir was influenced by his time spent around strong women and these pieces are heavily influenced by the art of corsetry. Punk Cancan was all about the influences of inner city Paris and London in the seventies. The raw side of punk, with its Mohawk haircuts, almost tribal makeup, allusions to sex, torn fishnet stockings, black, kilts, bondage straps, mixing of genders and materials spoke to Gaultier more than the strict conventions of couture in Paris.

Skin Deep focuses on his work from the early 1980s, where he began introducing a diversity of genres, 
a wide range of looks that encompassed even the hypersexualised and the transgendered. As a child who had suffered from his 'different' sexual identity, he offered one and all the freedom to choose their own identity. 

My excellent iPhone died just after we moved onto Metropolis, which is a shame as the entire exhibit is one giant camera friendly experience. Metropolis was all about the late 1970s and how Gaultier borrowed from the realms of science fiction and the emerging sounds of new wave and house music. He stayed ahead of the fashion pack by introducing high-tech materials such as vinyl, lycra and neoprene to his ready to wear collections.

Urban Jungle was probably the section that really got people in and around the clothes. It was a larger space and was all about the multiculturalism that Gaultier wanted to inject into the world of fashion. It lead onto what was probably my favourite section of the exhibit, Muses; which showcased some of his best red carport designs. Worn by the likes of Cate Blanchet and Nicole Kidman, it was a stunning way to end what was a spectacular exhibit.

National Gallery Of Victoria
180 St. Kilda Road,
VIC 3000 


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