Leave it to French fashion's eternal enfant terrible, Jean Paul Gaultier, to pull off the stunt of the spring/summer haute couture season. At the end of his show the bride's overblown skirts lifted to give birth to four beautiful children who duly scampered down the runway, all cuteness and giggles,with their preternaturally good-looking 'mother' following behind.
With the catwalk patch-worked orange, yellow and red, the show space at Gaultier's grand Rue Saint Martin headquarters bathed in amber light and guests seated in sections named after famous Indian dishes from 'vindaloo' to 'dal' it was clear that inspiration would be coming from that country. Gaultier is a quintessentially Parisian couturier, however, and so this saw two very different worlds collide - and all with his trademark maverick touch.
The designer's signatures were duly in place: a super-chic trench coat was cut in shimmering gold snakeskin, the Le Smoking was re-worked in ever more vampish incarnations and, of course, corseted underwear as outerwear made a suitably pneumatic an appearance too. A collection that started out monochrome, though, soon exploded into vivid colour: saffron and iris, chartreuse and flame. Pink being the navy blue of India, meanwhile, decreed that shade was there too, most sensational in the form of a fluttering fuchsia chiffon veil. Then there were tailored dhoti pants with ankle bracelets worn over their cuffed hems, fringing on everything from jewelled jackets to purses and skirts worn over trousers, another Gaultier hallmark, but in this instance particularly apt.
In May 2011, the Spanish luxury goods conglomerate, Puig, became a majority shareholder in Gaultier's business. More recently he signed a deal with Italy's Gibo SpA, who he worked with in the late Eighties, at the height of his fame with a view to expanding his ready-to-wear business. Gaultier launched Gaultier Paris - the haute couture arm of his company - in 1997 and it remains the jewel in his fashion empire's crown. The sheer vitality of this most recent offering drove that message home. It was nothing short of uplifting.