Tootlafrance fashion correspondent Marie Marsone checks out a unique exhibition at legendary Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette by brash Belgian designer Jean Paul Lespagnard
From the 29th of January to the 5th of April 2014, the Galeries Lafayette will play host to fashion designer Jean Paul Lespagnard in its Galerie des Galeries. Over an area of 300m2 and in the shop windows facing onto Chaussée d’Antin, an exhibition space is devoted to “Till we Drop”, inspired by Lespagnard’s eponymous collection presented in Paris last September. “Till we Drop” is the first monographic exhibition of the designer and retraces his creative process and his way of recreating his own euphoric universe. Here, in an exuberant, eclectic and humorous style, he presents his personal vision of artificial heaven inspired by the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, by its hotels and by the animated lifestyle of the area.
The “Till we Drop” exhibition picks up on the main themes of his Spring-Summer fashion show of 2014 and it devotes a gallery to the outfits that he invented for the season. In the Picture Carousel, visitors can have a go at imagining what it would be like to wear the latest creations from Lespagnard: banknote prints, tin-can belts, scratch-card sandals, sea-shell headphones… Via these trademark components, the creator himself (disguised as a bee) realizes his vision of the impulsive tourist through an amazing dress code.
Punctuated with photos and sculptures, the exhibition puts to the forefront the manner in which Lespagnard conceives the creative process. The sugar sculptures of “Sugar Land” shows the attachment that Lespagnard has for both the sense of minutia and confectionery techniques. The designer envisaged these sculptures of close-detail shellfish and had them crafted by a professional artisan/artist of the confectionery trade. He followed through with the creation of these pieces (see the slide show below) which are of the maritime and tourist worlds of his last collection, while using the leitmotiv of the honey bee. Lespagnard is also a specialist of colour and of the unexpected. In an interview in 2009, he explained that “to be in fashion is a question of personality”. Jean Paul Lespagnard stamps his personality and style all over this exhibition whose installation he also conceived and marks the creative journey of this designer who has constructed his own unique world through innovation, folklore and various other diverse influences.
Born in 1979 in Liège, Jean Paul Lespagnard showed an interest in artistic creativity from a very early age. He first studied Economic and Social Sciences and Plastic Arts. Then, he threw himself into fashion. A graduate of Château Massart college in Liège, the Belgian creator, was quick to reveal his flair for fashion design. He came away with the Prix 1.2.3 and the Prix Public during the 23rd edition of the International Fashion and Photography Festival in Hyères in 2008 with the presentation of his collection “Ich will ‘nen Cowboy als Mann”. Lespagnard moved freely within a milieu that is often a very closed one and passed his approval tests one by one, without altering his desire to keep pushing the envelope. He worked with different artists, such as the American choreographer Meg Stuart. He invented and created the costumers for his show “Blessed”. He also created several outfits for the French singer Yelle. With mounting recognition, he collaborated with manufacturers O’Sun and Eastpak.
Upcoming artist associated with European Capital of Culture of the Belgian town of Mons in 2015, Lespagnard gives us an insight into his sources of inspiration in his own particular way with “Till we Drop”.
1st Floor of Galeries Lafayette – Galerie des Galeries.
40 boulevard Haussmann ,
Tuesday to Saturday, from 11:00 to 19:00
Guided tours available in French on Saturdays 1st of February, 1st of March and 5th of April 2014 at 15:00.