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Alexander Fury: Fashion is about capturing a given moment, which is why it’s drawn to novelty models, like Conchita Wurst

Drop the shocks, give me the frocks

I wasn’t at Jean Paul Gaultier’s winter 2014 haute couture show, but I heard all about it. Or rather, I heard all about one bit of it – Conchita Wurst, this year’s Eurovision winner, who took a turn as Gaultier’s black-clad, bearded bride at the finale. I even wrote about it for this newspaper.

Why? Because Wurst’s appearance on the catwalk was newsworthy. Alas, what I mean is, the fact that Wurst appeared at all, rather than what she was wearing made headlines. When you forgot Conchita – and the gothic hair and make-up that Morticia Addams-ed up most of the models – the collection wasn’t half bad. Actually, it was good. One of Gaultier’s best in a while. And yet, the image everywhere is Conchita. What a pity.

It highlights the general issue I have with novelty acts on catwalks: namely, that they overshadow the clothes. Gaultier is prone to it, which is odd, because he’s actually a great designer.


Fashion is about capturing a given moment, which is perhaps why it’s drawn to novelty models. After all, who feels more of-the-moment – and quintessentially Gaultier – than Conchita? But often, they’re cover-ups for fashion that isn’t especially great, a welcome distraction.

For most at least, but not for me. That’s not because I’m a “serious journalist”. Far from it. It’s probably because I’m a sarcastic journalist, and tend to end up making witless puns about the novelty acts peppering designers’ shows, as opposed to cracking jokes about the clothes themselves – jokes which, ultimately, have a meaning and express an opinion.

I’m not at a show to proffer my opinion on models, but rather on modèles – French couture-speak for frocks. Isn’t that what the fashion fuss is supposedly all about?