Exclusive: ELLE visits JPG

A first look at the Barbican exhibition

Yesterday we got a real treat; a chance to visit the Barbican's soon-to-open exhibition, Jean Paul Gaultier: Sidewalk to Catwalk. And to be walked round by its curator, Thierry Loriot, a man who has spent the last five years dedicated to all things Gaultier.

The exhibition, which opens next week, was still a work in progress; crates were being unpacked, mannequins being painstakingly laced into their outfits, pictures were stacked against walls. But, even incomplete, it was the most inspiring, energising exhibition we've seen in a very long time. Here's our rundown of the top five things you won't want to miss.

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Jean Paul Gaultier's teddy bear: Positively threadbare with age and love, Nana sports the first conical bra that JPG ever made, fashioned from newspaper before the designer had even reached double figures.

Wedding dress inspiration: Personally we now won't be happy unless our wedding gown comes with a couture, coat-inspired full skirt, barely-there crystal bodice and enormous Native American head dress. Just saying.

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Madonna's corset: That blush coloured piece with the cone-shaped bra that she wore on her Blond Ambition tour. A slice of fashion history.

The Spitting Image doll: Conjured complete with matelot striped top and diamanté earring when JPG was co-presenting naughty late-night TV show,Eurotrash.

The bits just for Brits: The exhibition began in Montreal and is making it's way around the world, evolving as it goes. For it's London leg? More punk pieces have been added along with a section dedicated to Jean Paul's many muses, ranging from Beth Ditto to Boy George.

Plus there's the section dedicated to Stephen Jones, the peep-show style room dedicated to his love of leather and latex, the mannequins that talk and wink, the beaded tiger dress with over 10,000 hours of work init... honestly, we could talk all day about this stuff. Go see.

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