On Friday February 3rd, 2012 IFA Paris’ MBA Fashion Business students explored the fascinating 40-year career of image-maker and artist Jean-Paul Goude at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs. The retrospective, Goudemalion held in the nave of the Louvre’s west wing museum, celebrates the master fashion photographer’s ad-campaign innovations and multi-media genius through an interactive installation of the 72-year-old’s vast career.

Guided by a museum expert and accompanied by IFA’s program director, Jean-Marc Chauve, IFA Paris’ MBA students were excited to discover an icon whose dynamic approach to imagery has transcended history.  “It was great to have a guided tour.  Jean-Paul Goude’s photographic sensibility and the creativity behind his advertisements really brought a sense of story to his work,” says Elva Gunnarsdottir, a 26 year-old student from Iceland. Similarly, Claudia Cannateli who had independently visited the exhibit prior to the tour, found the second visit insightful. “I must say it was different and very much appreciated to be there again with the school, Mr. Chauve and the guide!  It was great to learn about Goude’s numerous muses and his creative collaborations like his photography campaign for Galleries Lafayette,” says the former San Francisco resident.

Jean-Paul Goude’s first Paris showing, celebrated in the heart of the city’s 1st arrondissement, astounded visitors with an installation style exhibit divided into two galleries. Upon entrance, models dressed as waltzing ladies from his infamous 1989 Bicentennial Parade welcomed students and guests into the museum’s nave where the focal point, a giant steam train, exposed Goude’s drawings on a conveyor belt. The added element of performance elevated an already well-curated collection of Goude’s work, creating a very palpable experience for the students, who all noted the performers as a highlight.

While metatheatrical moments brought the exhibit to life, the students were most surprised and inspired by Goude’s prolific career.  “Before I came to the exhibition, I had already seen a large amount of his work, but I was still surprised at how vast it was,” explains Sajid Khan, an MBA student from Bangladesh.  From his early days in New York through Andy Warhol and Esquire, to his most recent collaboration with teenage blog sensation Tavi Gevinson, Jean-Paul Goude has produced an impressive compilation of editorials, ad campaigns, photography, cinema, graphic art and paintings,and in collaboration with distinguished brands and individuals includingChanel, Citroen, Sarah Jessica Parker, Galleries Lafayette, Azzedine Alaia, Harper’s BAZAAR and more.

In the Tuileries gallery, a chronological display of Goude’s most personal and inspiring work took students and visitors on an intimate journey through his inexplicable relationship between life and art.  For him, the two are so intertwined that his subjects have immensely informed his own life, and his dynamic perspective helped him radically change the medium in which he was working, particularly advertising.“I think he wanted to revolutionize the fashion world,” reflected Alejendra Verea, a 22-year-old MBA student from Spain.   “I could see how hefound pleasure in ‘beauty,’ but not from a conventional fashion point of view. He represents it instead with the shapes, bodies and muses.” Goude’s abstract, yet cultivated conception of beauty is perhaps most apparent from his countless roster of muses, particularly his innovative interpretations of Grace Jones.Moreover, his rejection of technical applications helped him capture the ingenuity of his ideas in a tangible form.  “It was so incredible for me how he works, how he rejects the use of modern tools like Photoshop,” said Verea of Goude’s selected media.Thesepaired down methods of interpretation inspired IFA Paris’ students, who enjoyed viewing fashion from an unconventional perspective. “I found most of his work interesting, funny, inspiring and creative, especially those manually enlarged pictures produced without graphic editing software,” added Chaowei Huang, an MBA student from China.

On the Rivoli side of the gallery, six mini-theatrical installations exposed the highlights of Goude’s career through a more digital and analytical evaluation of his artistic influences on fashion and art. Students favored the installation style approach, such as Korbinian Baerend, who felt that “the mixture of still lives and motion captures, such as the TV presentations in the third room were really well made. The light installation in room 1 (the mountain and presenter) was my favorite, especially the part when the Dior campaign’s red lips appear.”Other partsin the alcoves were more difficult to digest. Chaowei Huang noticed that, “some of them were not so easy to understand without knowing enough background information – maybe because they are too personal or too political.”Difficult in this capacity, actually strengthened the exposition’s success, for it challengedstudents to think about the subject, the same way that Goude has challenged his audience for decades.

Goudemalion is on from 11th November 2011 to 18th March 2012