NEW YORK CITY - A dazzling retrospective featuring the masterpieces of couture superstar Jean Paul Gaultier opens in New York on Friday, sizzling with wit and oozing sex appeal.
The Brooklyn Museum exhibition unites under one roof objects as diverse as the French designer's childhood teddy bear, a picture of his grandmother and the conical bras he designed for Madonna.
Brimming with infectious enthusiasm for life, fashion and the unique magic of New York, Gaultier says he is delighted and humbled at being given the retrospective.
Simply putting his clothes in a museum, however, was too "still life" for the designer, whose exhibition includes walking, talking mannequins including one of himself.
A life-size model of the designer, speaking in his voice, emoting with his facial expressions and wearing the sailor stripes he made iconic, introduces the tour.
"I love theatre, I love shows ... I wanted to make it alive," Gaultier told reporters at the preview.
"It's a new adventure. It has made me look again at the clothes I've made and I tried to do something else, to present them in a different way," he explained to AFP.
"The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk" features 130 of his finest couture and ready-to-wear outfits dating back 40 years.
Apart from photographs, sketches and his fragrances, there is a picture of his grandmother - one of his earliest muses, and his teddy bear Nana, for whom he crafted his first conical breasts, out of newspaper.
Then there are the clothes. Highlights include corsets and bras worn by Madonna during her world tours in 1990 and 2010.
An incredible mermaid-style wedding gown made out of a latex bodysuit with golden scales, cone bra shells, a sequined skirt and a latex mermaid's tail is an eye-catcher.
Another high point is the gown worn by US actress Sarah Jessica Parker at the 2000 MTV Movie Awards in New York.
In town for four months, the exhibition has already been seen by a million people in Dallas, San Francisco, Madrid, Rotterdam and Stockholm.
Gaultier said he was flattered to have his exhibition invited to Brooklyn, the increasingly fashionable part of New York once looked down upon by Manhattanites.