By  on April 9, 2014

LONDON — Jean Paul Gaultier hit town Tuesday for the local launch of his traveling retrospective, “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier — From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk,” which opened at the Barbican gallery Thursday.

During a lively Q&A with the exhibition’s curator, Thierry-Maxime Loriot, at the Barbican’s theater, Gaultier recalled how London and its street style helped shape his aesthetic. “I’ve had a special relationship with England for a long time — it’s true that in part of my work, there is a lot of London,” said Gaultier. “The energy and the eccentricity is very unique — maybe because it’s an island,” he mused. Gaultier noted that on one of his many visits to London in the Seventies, Barbara Hulanicki’s Biba boutique had a major impact. “For me, it was like a dream, it was like a big department store of the Thirties was coming alive,” he said. He also said the colorful characters he’d see walking around London’s Portobello Road were an inspiration: “All the people that were dressed completely differently, and so assuming to be characters and being different and beautiful — it was all that that made me love London,” he said.

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