Jean Paul Gaultier Fall-Winter 2013-2014 Couture Fashion Show

Jean Paul Gaultier recently made a pilgrimage to London to catch the Victoria and Albert Museum’s hot-ticket “David Bowie is” show. “It was absolutely incredible,” he enthused, “fabulous. You see how clever he is in all his projects, and how he connected to art.” 

As a result, in his two-pronged show, Gaultier took Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona as the starting point for one side of his collection. This he fused with a vision of a 1940s Catwoman seen through 80s eyes—“but not the 80s I was doing!” as he joked, for in place of his subversive gender-bending experiments in that exciting decade, Gaultier looked to a chic pencil-skirted Parisienne, complete with conical hat and teetering stiletto heels. 

There was a whiff of the 80s Memphis-era palette too in the royal blues, hot pinks, and plum tones, in the layered chiffons that picked up the refracted colors in Bohemian crystal bead trim, and in the patterns based on the mottled covers of high school pupils’ traditional notebooks, worked in velvet flocked fabrics or in micro mosaics of Swarovski crystals. That embroidery technique was also used for astonishing tromp l’oeil big cat prints, and for a dazzling “leopard pelt” that glittered down the front of a gleaming black sheath, worn with an ankle-length dark mink hoodie. The feather coats that mimicked cheetah markings were another tour de force of haute couture workmanship, and there was classic Gaultier wit in a red fox boa that was actually crafted from ostrich plumes—and the jaguar-spot French twist updos. Inspired by a mid-century fashion photograph, Gaultier also used giant pockets that stood away from the body in an elaborate dropped peplum—emphasizing the form-fitting hourglass shape of his jackets and dresses. Those giant pockets were also worked in quilted effects that mimicked the design of Renaissance textiles, with stitching and padding creating dimensional high relief. Meanwhile the costumes that Kansai Yamamoto collaborated on with Bowie in the early 70s were the starting point for sophisticated experiments in contour padding, cartoonishly emphasizing sweetheart necklines and curving sleeve and hip contours. The bride, who appeared to the strains of Bowie’s 1980 “Ashes to Ashes,” wore an ethereal version of this compass-drawn silhouette, in layers of fluttering tulle.
Review by by Hamish Bowles via:
Images courtesy of Jean-Paul Gaultier 

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