With vibrant colours, palm trees and conquistadors, Jean-Paul Gaultier transported his audience from a freezing cold Paris to the heat of Mexico at his couture show for next summer on Wednesday.

Shot glasses of tequila and colourful fruit juices were served to warm up guests as they arrived for the event in his house's headquarters.

The voice of Dario Moreno over the loudspeakers pronouncing "Mexiiiiiiico" was the signal for the curtain to go up on a cloud of blue smoke and the sound of fireworks.

Sombreros were the order of the day and wide-cut pants, sometimes flapping open all the way down the side or turning into skirts with pleated organdy spewing out behind.

Gaultier showed only a single example of his signature sailor jerseys over a pair of jeans woven with silver pearls.

Leather ensembles featured large, so did brilliant colours like turquoise, a common precious stone in Mexico.

From his bra of fan-shaped metallic palm fronds, the grey and rainbow stripes of traditional ponchos and bright folksy floral embroidery to conquistador-style armour plating, Gaultier crammed in every possible visual reference to Mexico.

No bride at the end, but French actress Arielle Dombasle, who grew up among serenading mariachi singers, gave a rendering of the Mexican song "Cucurrucucu paloma" recently popularised by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, wearing an obligatory sombrero and an outfit in sizzling orange and coral.

Gaultier said backstage he was inspired by Mel Gibson's film "Apocalypto" and wanted to add a touch of operetta - "you need some joie de vivre during a crisis, don't you?"