Gaultier spices up his corsets

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From the mariachi music to the giant sombreros, Jean Paul Gaultier's couture show in Paris yesterday was decidedly Mexican in flavour.

Gaultier likes to embrace his themes wholeheartedly and accordingly, there was probably no well-known Mexican motif that he didn't interpret into clothes, accessories or the names of an ensemble. One outfit was called "Too Frida" presumably after Frida Kahlo, and another "Tabasco".

When the first models emerged wearing denim jackets adorned with gold beads, and wide denim flares, it was hard not to think that only the most whimsical of couture clients would blow thousands on jeans. However as the show progressed, Gaultier's consummate skill for combining tailoring and intricate, often corseted construction with humour became apparent. Highlights of his sharp suiting included a navy blazer and flared trousers trimmed with gold buttons and a black evening jacket with a fan-pleated tail. The white blouse of traditional Mexican dress appeared, only with corset lacing, and palm leaves were a recurrent theme. Iridescent green silk fronds were woven into the bodices of dresses, while the skirts appeared to be unravelling provocatively.

For the finale, Arielle Dombasle, the French actress and wife of celebrity philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, walked along the catwalk singing and wearing a floor-sweeping red dress.

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