2010 January 29

Gaultier's Wild, Wild West

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Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture. Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture.
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(PARIS) There's something fabulously democratic about Jean Paul Gaultier's haute couture--it looks great, sexy, and appropriate on women of all ages. These days, he is Paris' consummate veteran couturier, now that Christian Lacroix is not showing. A sea of black-suited, bold-face-named fashion folk including Karla Otto, Glenda Bailey, Lucinda Chambers, the perpetually mantilla'd Diane Pernet and a fur-clad and not-wearing-black-naturally Anna Wintour (followed by a very aggressive bodyguard who almost knocked over Carine Roitfeld) filled the front row. Collectively, Inès de la Fressange, Vincent Perez and the flawless Dita von Teese caused a paparazzi storm.

Wednesday afternoon's show was an homage to Mexico and all things Aztec, beginning with acid-washed, sequin-embellished denim worn with Gaultier's version of a sombrero and cowboy boots. Next up? Flawless tailored pant and skirt suits that would look amazing on a myriad of Gaultier clients--yes, ladies, he is the heir to YSL. The side-slit pants may require cellulite-free legs, but this is the Wild Wild West, and the couture-clad keep themselves up. It is not an option to let these investment pieces go unworn. The woven pieces reminded me of primitive basketweaving made suddenly decadent and divine, especially in leather. Live palm branches adorned some of the models' hairstyles, and the palm motif was repeated in prints and embroidered on dresses. Mexican-raised Parisian-based chanteuse Arielle Dombasle closed the show while seranading the audience in an elaborate illusion ensemble of coral beads trailed by a galloping Gaultier wielding an orchid. "I think I found my perfect outfit for the Costume Institute gala," Susan Casden told me as we left the show. We will have to wait until May 3 to see what Susan wears...but until then, ole'!

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