Twist in the tails: Gaultier lights up the Paris catwalk with his traditional flair

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

Paris

Jean Paul Gaultier showed his haute couture collection in Paris yesterday to typically spectacular effect. This was a vintage show heavy on cages – in gold leather or inky black dripping with jet – gender-bending tailoring and corsetry of the sort that made the couturier famous in the 1980s. Remember this is the man who put David Beckham in a skirt and Madonna in a conical bra.

You have to hand it to Monsieur Gaultier for having the flair to cast models of various ages, colour and even, relatively speaking, size, and indeed for throwing in a few men here and there for good measure. The latter looked particularly fetching in silk turban and beaded velvet cape, say, not to mention decidedly camp in a sheer organza jumpsuit, underwear on display for all to see.

French-born Gaultier, who turned 60 in April, is the last couturier left working in Paris who trained in the traditional manner, starting as an assistant in Pierre Cardin's atelier before moving on to Jean Patou.

He launched his own couture collection in 1997, reportedly motivated by the fact that he was overlooked for the top job at Christian Dior. (Instead it went to John Galliano, who took the helm the year before.) Since that time this arm of his business – it's called Gaultier Paris – has been growing. Revenues jumped 23 per cent following the controversial Amy Winehouse-inspired spring/summer haute couture collection shown here in January and that came on top of a 28 per cent increase in 2011.

This was a more rounded collection than the last one, however, that showcased not only Gaultier's skills as a tailor – sharply cut tuxedos came backless, with long-legged trousers or black silk velvet skirts – but also his ability as a colourist. Fringed, beaded flapper dresses worn with billowing kimonos looked lovely in chartreuse, flame and old gold.

The autumn/winter 2012 haute couture collections came to a close later on in the day with an ultra-refined and elegant collection courtesy of the Valentino designers since 2007, Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chuiri. The combination of finely wrought couture techniques with a lightness of touch that rivals the house's namesake in his heyday is good to see here.

Finally, Maison Martin Margiela showed its Artisanal collection on the runway for the first time. Martin Margiela, that house's founder, retired in 2009 but the maverick spirit which he upheld remains very much in evidence with this line in particular. Found objects, often of little value – brass rings and ropes of red tinsel have both been used in the past – are transformed into one-off garments of considerable, if less obviously haute, beauty. More vintage pieces are replicated but always with a tender twist. It almost goes without saying that every stitch is executed by hand.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

    £18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

    £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own