If you want to stand out or confuse insects, wear Gaultier stripes

A major theme running through the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition in Melbourne is horizontal blue and white stripes.


They are everywhere – on the walls, on the clothes, and in the video clips of catwalks.




And in this painted photograph by Pierre et Gilles (1990) and doll featuring the great man himself.IMG_7628


There also seemed to be lots of visitors wearing blue and white stripes at the exhibition – but maybe this was simply because they stood out?


The traditional blue and white maillot (Breton top) was originally worn by French sailors to make them easier to see if they fell overboard.

(Would Wally be easier or harder to find in a sea of people if he wore blue and white stripes?)


Luckily, this drawing by Julius Preite (2007) shows Gaultier in his signature maillot or we might not notice him standing between Linda Evangelista and Marge Simpson.

IMG_7641But there is far more to this exhibition than just blue and white stripes. Gaultier’s Union Jack Mohawk and punk cancan skirt, for example, adds red into the mix and would definitely make you stand out. IMG_7636

And you would surely turn a few heads if you walked down the street in this incredible black striped corset. Although this design would not be easy to spot in the waves, it could potentially act as body armour when trying to fend off sharks or pirates.

IMG_7623Shy, retiring types who don’t want to be noticed might prefer Gaultier’s camouflage ball gowns that allow the wearer to effortlessly blend into the background (or jungle). IMG_7666A striped alternative that would make you stand out in urban crowds but be relatively hard to spot in the jungle is Gaultier’s unique tiger suit.


I can’t be certain, but wearing animal print and striped tops might even help you avoid sleeping sickness on your next African safari by confusing the tsetse flies – if you believe the latest theories about why zebras have stripes (e.g. here).

(Researchers in Sweden claim that the stripes create an optical illusion that confuses pests and predators about the zebra’s movement direction – like a barber pole where the spiral of stripes on a vertical pole appears to move upwards as the pole spins. More about the barber pole illusion – here.)

Women trying to survive in the urban jungle might prefer this magnificent beaded leopard print taffeta dress that took 1600 hours to create!


The clothes and artwork in the exhibition are spectacular. (Check out more fashion photos and information about the exhibition – here.)

It’s no wonder that the whole town has caught the Gaultier bug – including this tram! (If you can’t tell which direction it was going, it might be due to the stripes…)


‘The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk’ is showing at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne until 8 Feb 2015.


Photo credits:

  • Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition & tram pics – Pip Marks (2014)
  • How’s Wally button – Reproduced with permission from Button Empire (16 Nov 2014)

Source: ‘Why do zebras have stripes? Distinctive markings create an optical illusion that dazzles predators and masks movement‘ by Ellie Zolfagharifard at Daily Mail Online (Published 28 Dec 2013)

Categories: Art

Tags: , , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. That looks like great fun! And too funny about the zebras. I think those Breton striped shirts were appropriated by Coco Chanel and Picasso too.


  1. David Hockney’s digital drawings: To do, not to do, or to undo – Sustainability soapbox

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