Madonna’s Iconic Conical Bra Goes On Display

The singer's outfit is part of the Barbican's major exhibition of Jean Paul Gaultier's work

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Madonna’s album Like A Prayer made waves in 1990 with its racy Catholic imagery and overt sexuality. But while few people remember the rest the the tracks on that album, every Madonna fan remembers the conical bra she wore to promote it on her Blonde Ambition Tour. That bra and corset have become emblematic of the singer (which is why a fan shelled out almost $80,000 for one in a Christie’s auction in November 2012) as well as the designer who made it, Jean Paul Gaultier. Now, the iconic undergarment is being included in a retrospective of theGaultier’s work in a show that is heading to London’s Barbican next year.

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The show at the Barbican will explore all things Gaultier, “from his witty and boundary-pushing designs to his ceaseless interest in society, identity and a beauty born of difference.” Titled The Fashion World Of Jean Paul Gaultier: From The Sidewalk To The Catwalk, the show will span the career of the designer, featuring 140 couture and ready-to-wear pieces along with many pieces Gaultier created exclusively for Madonna, who worked with the designer for more than 30 years. Madonna’s outfits will be displayed alongside ensembles Gaultier made for singers Bjork and Kylie Minogue, as well as the costumes used in Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element.

The show, which the Barbican is billing as an “installation” rather than a mere retrospective, will feature footage of Gaultier’s fashion shows, concerts, music videos, films, dance performances and Gaultier’s extremely strange cult television show, Eurotrash.

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