2011 January 27

Paris Haute Couture Spring 2011: Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino

Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Spring 2011 Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Spring 2011
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(PARIS) Jean Paul Gaultier
“It’s the first time that journalists are telling me, 'It was beautiful, wasn’t it?'" raved Inès de la Fressange after watching Jean Paul Gaultier’s couture offering. No doubt influenced by revisiting his first couture show, recently documented by Farida Khelfa in the television program “Jean Paul Gaultier ou les codes bouleversées,” Gaultier presented his collection with no catwalk music, accompanying the looks with only the deep, sultry voice of legendary actress Catherine Deneuve, who announced each ensemble with cheeky introductions written by fashion journalist Paquita Paquin. According to Gaultier himself, the clothes were influenced by “a mix of punk, Cancan, and haute couture.” The Trench Cancan, a black laquered silk dress with an underside of silk tulle, opened the show, with models wearing various lengths of mohawks and sunglasses from the new line Jean Paul Gaultier by Alain Mikli. The audience, including Pedro Almodóvar, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, singer La Roux, and Marie-Chantal of Greece, got progressively louder as a spike-haired Khelfa brandished her number and jauntily sauntered down the runway to claps and hoots. Other looks, like La Goulue, a mix of evening wear with a masculine finish, and a lacier version, La Grille d’Egout, had the classic Gaultier trademarks of powerful, edgy, sexiness. “It’s back to elegance, back to a picture of Paris that we all want,” continued de la Fressange. "You say, “oh, how lucky I am to be a girl, non?” Absolument!

The gilded and frescoed hotel particulier Salomon de Rothschild was the perfect backdrop for Valentino’s collection, a luxuriously soft and sweet collection that seemed inspired by idle days and tea parties in warm climates. Shoe designer Charlotte Dellal was just one of design duo Maria Grazia Chiuri et Pier Paolo Piccioli’s new generation of society “swans,” impatiently awaiting the show, saying, “I’m expecting to see a lot of beautiful dresses,” before talking about her own plans to launch her first bridal collection later this spring. Dellal was joined by chicettes Bianca Brandolini, Cornélia Brandolini-Colombo, Tatiana Santo Domingo, and Lauren Santo Dominigo. Poised in the front row, they seemed the perfect models for Valentino’s latest offering: pale tulles, crêpes, and silk gazar with openwork, Chantilly lace with crystal and pearl appliqués, and brushstroke floral prints that made one think of Monet’s water lilies in Giverny. Models floated by in dresses that hit the knee or in long floating full-length versions, with just the slightest hint of transparency. A beautiful Valentino swan song to the end of couture week.