couture week: jean paul gaultier

(images via vogue)

oh, kidlings, you didn’t really believe i’d allow us to leave couture week in paris without discussing the fah-bulous jean paul gaultier, did you? and while, yesyesyes, we’ve got to step so lightly and move so quickly along, not meandering and blathering on about his s/s 2013 haute couture collection as we have his other couture work (see s/s 2010, a/w 2010, s/s 2011, a/w 2011, s/s 2012, a/w 2012), it seems only right that we take a moment to have a bit of fun, after all. i mean, what is fashion for, if not that?!

so. yes, right, let’s move the critics along, then, shall we? so with that in mind, said the examiner, “(t)he Jean-Paul Gaultier…collection is all about layering on and adding texture to an ensemble, including the flamenco style tiered patchwork skirt ensemble, which is teamed with a ruffle sleeved blouse. Similarly, a pinafore effect is achieved with a shimmery white over-garment topping a black chiffon gown. Several long red bead garlands add more layering and interest.”

the designer, they continued, “offers a lot of glitz and glam in this Spring/Summer couture collection as well as evidenced by his chic pewter trench coat with a fish scale finish. And then there is that lovely silver metallic maxi skirt, teamed with a glitzy black top, casually tied at the waist. In true Jean-Paul Gaultier tradition, there are some daring, barely-there pieces, including his off-the-shoulder gossamer-thin black gown with a crosshatch and tulle skirt. More garland strands and drop earrings complete the look. There is also an intriguing pink, beige and cream V-necked gown with matching jacket which reminds one of strawberry ripple ice cream.”

and fashionologie reflected that “(b)illowing sheer capes shot through with gold thread embroidery and veils in orange, pink, and purple sat on top of a few looks. Closer to the body there were intricately beaded dresses, sheer panels of fabric, and more than one bustier that recalled the iconic cone bra the designer created for Madonna in the ’90s. [ed note: um, eighties?] But the long-sleeved patchwork gowns featuring tiers of ruffles are perhaps a little more fitting for wandering souls.”

meanwhile, according to the fashion spot, “(c)uts and colors were varied throughout making for a collection that didn’t always appear to be the most cohesive. It did, however, have all of the designer’s signatures including corsetry, tuxedo-inspired separates, Parisian stripes and dramatic patterns, all of which will certainly appeal to the Gaultier’s loyal following. Embroidery and patchwork were also prominent this season and many looks were accessorized with oversized chandelier earrings and layered necklaces.”

and us vogue related that “‘(i)ts about the Indian gypsies,’ said Jean Paul Gaultier, ‘the real ones from Rajasthan.’ The designer’s feverish imagination was fired by the memorable vision of an Indian bride being transported to her wedding on an elephant. But it wasn’t just her nuptial finery that inspired him—it was the music that accompanied her, which he recognized as classic gitane sounds but were in fact traditional Rajasthani ones. Gaultier soon discovered, of course, that most gypsy travelers had their origins in this part of the world, and so he set out to capture their spirit in his joyous collection.”

“The Rajasthan element registered in the tops inspired by regional men’s dress,” they burbled on, “with a great fullness of fabric gathered from the yoke, worn with gently flowing pants, as well as in subtle touches like a print that looked like a traditional French toile de Jouy but that represented Indian gods and fauna. He used patchworks of Swarovski crystal panels, Indian brocades, and even a trove of turn-of-the-century beaded purses for full tiered tzigane skirts. And for the sophisticated world traveler he reinvented the backpack—lavishly embroidered in jet beads or hand crocheted in boudoir-pink mesh.”

“Gaultier’s wonderful, singing palette ran the gamut from spice tones of saffron, turmeric, cardamon, and paprika to the brilliant colors of the sari markets. To the strains of ‘La Vie En Rose’ sung in Hindi, the bride appeared in a vast patchwork crinoline. She raised her skirts, and a quartet of adorable little South Asian girls ran out giggling down the runway in dresses in the dazzling hues of the pigments thrown during the Holi festival—hot pink, parrot green, and midnight blue,” they concluded.

elsewhere, style bitchily noted that “India’s presence was maybe less prominent than the Gypsy flavor that is integral to the Gaultier aesthetic. (Anyway, Gypsies originally came from India.) The off-the-shoulder tops, the long skirts shaped over the hips, flaring to the floor, had a colorful fortune-teller vibe. Patchwork and fringe also had a flavor of the Gypsy encampment. Given that this was a Couture collection—and couture arrives laden with notions of taste and exquisite craftsmanship—there was something bordering on crass, even vulgar, about the presentation.”

“And you scarcely needed the model at the finale, barely concealed by a cascade of violet silk jersey, to reinforce that fact,” they sniped onward. “But Gaultier has always been an iconoclast who lives to challenge the norm. Maybe the overwrought Real Housewives ‘vibrancy’ of this presentation was the latest manifestation of that impulse. Or maybe it was a canny acknowledgement of the fact that, right now, there is a couture client somewhere in the world who lives for a gold python trenchcoat.” wow. i guess? that’s taking pc to a new level…?

right, then. anyway, the rest of us liked–or loved it–so let us continue. i was pleased to read wwd declaring that “(t)he couture collection he showed suggested an impressive creative refresh as well. After allowing his brilliant wit and irreverence to descend into expressions of kitsch for too long, Gaultier here made an important statement about his will to be taken seriously while showcasing the talent that made him a star in the first place.”

“Gaultier’s theme — Indian Gypsies — offered plenty of room to roam. Yet this time he refused to let cartoonish instincts infringe on his message of pure haute, one signaled with the first look out, an amethyst and brown plissé jersey gown with a long braid in the back. It was a study in elegance. Gaultier played other such moments calm — voluminous white tunic and pants, a khaki shantung trench over a saffron gown — against more ebullient fare, the lavish embroideries, patchworks and pilings that at his best have the power to awe,” they trilled on.

“Among his stunners: a glamazon mermaid in silver lamé and a crystal-embroidered skirt that put an Indian spin on Mondrian. Throughout, Gaultier alluded gamely to his greatest hits — trench, smoking, corsetry, cone bra included. And if he didn’t break new ground, who cares? Couture is about beauty and craft, of which this collection had plenty,” the site concluded. so there. we each of us can have an individualized opinion about fashion, but as i’ve grown with the topic, i’ve realized it doesn’t benefit anyone to be nasty (ahem, style, ahem). it just sends others away, when they feel you’re denigrating their perspective.

ahem. sorry, back on track. so! finally, according to uk vogue, “(i)t was a rich and varied collection with each and every exit completely different to the one before it – so bulbous stripes led the way on dresses of asymmetric or off-the-shoulder style, followed by super-cinched tulle gowns heavily held at the waist by big gold belts, luxe skin tuxedos and tailoring, fancy-frilled maxi skirts, patchwork trousers and drapery with rich embroidery running throughout. And no look was complete without exotic chandelier earrings and hair piled up high to show it off to full effect.”

“It was a collection layered with glamour and drama and plenty of sartorial narrative. ‘It showed the range of Gaultier and it was very true to him – all of his favourites, the corsetry,’ noted Vogue fashion director Lucinda Chambers. In fact, the only thing that was missing really was the blue and white stripy T-shirt (but we imagine we might see that in the ready-to-wear show),” they carried on.

“But it was the end that made for a special high note – Gaultier sending out the traditional end-of-show wedding gown and from beneath all of its skirts hid four little children, all dressed in neon shades, who ran down the catwalk and clearly enjoyed every moment of doing so – the result of which got them a standing ovation. Couture stars in the making obviously,” the site concluded. love it. as i did the clothes. and though i’m sad to leave it behind, it won’t be long ere we see him again for fall’s rtw show in paris!!!

(watch the show video here)

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