Talk about a trip! Jean Paul Gaultier took his audience on a tour of South America starting with swaggering couture gauchos from the fantasy pampas and ending with a scarlet clad Arielle Dombasle. With a birds nest of blond hair caught up in a huge straw sombrero and a vivid lace flamenco dress, she delivered a plaintive rendition of Cucurrucucu Paloma, the length of the catwalk before being joined by the jubilant designer.
Gaultier and Dombasle served as judges for the Miss France competition back in December. Clearly they made productive use of their down time.
It was all mariachi pants, waistcoats and sombreros at the beginning. Wide pants were split at the side to show an explosion of pleated fabric so the effect from a distance looked like tailored pants and a full skirt mashed into one garment. Sharp shouldered jackets kept the upper body neat, while shoes were versions of dusty cowboy boots with exaggeratedly curled toes.
As the show progressed, the tailoring gave way to corsets intricately woven into body shaping structure with centimetre wide strips of fabric. Long silk fringed and embroidered shawls draped shoulders or wrapped the body to become dresses. By the time the evening wear section had arrived we had progressed to full blown palm frond motifs appliqued onto the hem of full skirts, tied into the hair like crowns, worked into chic castaway versions of the designer’s iconic conical bra or simply carried like bouquets.
The Gaultier ‘Maya’ show provided the Paris couture audience with yet another tantalising escape route. What was missing were the to-die-for trouser suits and coat dresses that no-one has really delivered since Saint Laurent retired and which Jean Paul Gaultier has made part of his couture signature. There was no reference to anything as mundane as daily life in this show. But then, maybe Gaultier is on to something. In an ideal world wouldn’t we all check out for six months and come back when the elections were over and the economy was back on track. Anyone reading this planning a sabbatical on Copacabana Beach? Do I have a wardrobe for you!
- Paula Reed in Paris
Stay tuned for more show reports direct from Grazia's style director at Couture Fashion Week and don’t forget to check out Paula's reports on Givenchy, Chanel, Armani Prive and Christian Dior. Plus keep an eye on our Twitter page for more of the latest news!