PARIS: The host of an eccentric Jean Paul Gaultier show promised guests a trip into outer space with catwalk attendee Rihanna at Paris Fashion Week. Though guests’ hopes were eventually dashed when the superstar left on foot through the emergency exit, this was surely the highlight of the weekend’s ready-to-wear shows.But Vivienne Westwood, who hosted hers in an incense-filled church and showed exposed breasts while branding the altar with a dazzling “W,” came a close second.
Here are details from the day of fall-winter collections.
THE UNITED COLORS
OF FASHIONFrom older, silver-haired model Catherine Loewe to children who also trod his catwalk, fashion egalitarian Jean Paul Gaultier clearly likes to represent all colors of the rainbow.
Just take the show’s front row: Singer Rihanna applauded with a black-and-white Gaultier fur wrap alongside plus-size lesbian Beth Ditto, the singer from band Gossip.
It was reassuring in an industry that showcases mainly thin and young white girls.
“The casting was amazing to do like that, having people very different to one another,” Gaultier said after the show.
“They’re different types of beauty,” he added.
Ditto endorsed Gaultier’s eccentricity, finding it welcoming.
“I enjoy the fashion industry more than the music industry, as there are more eccentrics. Gaultier comes from the heart. It’s body beautiful, just like this is,” she said, and the star did a body roll.
JEAN PAUL GAULTIER GETS LOST IN SPACEGaultier needs to take his foot off the warp drive.
In terms of spectacle, the credentials of the galactic fall-winter show cannot be denied, inside an Oscar Niemeyer futurist building, with Star Trek-style automatic doors. Then there was the host, who asked guests to fasten seatbelts and promised an interstellar vacation with Rihanna. Who could ask for more?
But mixing space age with the Union Jack?
The iconic French couturier left people confounded in a show that did produce some beautiful looks.
In the space-age first half, with models sporting vertical bobs like antennae, there was some cool piping-styles and a great pair of sheer green PVC pants.
Then came a punk section, several infant models with a mother, and a grand finale that produced some fairly unoriginal but fastidiously executed garments featuring the British flag.
It felt a little lost in space.
FASHION SACRILEGEBritish fashion icon Vivienne Westwood looked to her inner Christian and hosted her fall-winter show in a functioning church.
Was Westwood trying to launch her own denomination by branding the altar with a huge dazzling “W?”
Incense wafted through the strobe lights up to the gothic windows, and several guests were tucked away behind pews looking almost ready for Mass.
“Front row will be last, and last row will be first,” one guest said.
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD MIXES COUTURE AND TRIBALAn Encyclopedia Britannica should be standard issue with any Westwood show.
Fall-winter was no exception, seeing the eccentric British designer mix up Peruvian ethnic face paints, jewelry and robes with the style of Charles Worth, the 19th century British fashion genius and founder of haute couture.
Mad blond Afros merged into wide brimmed black-feathered hats, while Pervurian prints on long dresses were preceeded by a series of stylish Scottish tartans.
The signature regency blazer and peaked shoulder cropped up, but it was the Worth-inspired couture that stole the day.
VIKTOR & ROLF GET THEIR GROOVE BACKThe show was based on abstract interpretations of the gray knit V-neck sweater.
If that sounds like an uninspiring muse, somehow in the hands of Dutch design duo Viktor & Rolf it became thought-provoking poetry.
Huge curved metal lampposts lined the catwalk, and the show played on trompe l’oeil artworks referencing blown-up knit cables.
Some of the visual tricks, like a 2-D printed bow that played on dimensionality, were too heavy handed.
But the musings with wool were fun, featuring it in patches on a great striped coat or mimicking fur.
After several disappointing seasons, Viktor & Rolf clearly have gained creative momentum from the recent relaunch of their couture designs.