The wheat field vista on Jean Paul Gaultier’s show invitation promised a bucolic escape from the sharp cold that has gripped Paris since last week. Instead, guests got a round-the-world trip.
Gaultier cycled through Eighties-style strong-shouldered silhouettes; bolero jackets and sombrero hats; patriotic red, white and blue, and floral prints ranging from daisy patterns to photo prints of poppies and Hawaiian hibiscus motifs. It was a lot to take in.
He kicked off the display with his signature pant suits in haute fabrications, such as trompe-l’oeil pinstripes made from pleated ribbons. Gaultier then turned his attention to the waist, with chic outfits including black tuxedo trousers dressed down with an undone pink corset and embroidered white undershirt.
Once he got stuck into his nature theme, all restraint flew out the window. A puff-sleeved peasant blouse with embroidered and bedazzled red blooms was paired with green satin palazzo pants. The hibiscus print was rendered in royal blue lamé jacquard spliced with guipure lace on a flouncy dress.
Gaultier has often been compared to Yves Saint Laurent, and for his tailoring skills alone he surely deserves the mantle. But faced with a gown in a garish sunflower print, the mind jumped to the late couturier’s embroidered homage to Van Gogh — art imitating art. Gaultier’s version didn’t come close.
Unlike the chronically anxious Saint Laurent, the former “Eurotrash” presenter is exuberant to a fault. Then again, Gaultier’s penchant for theatrics makes for sunny interludes such as the show’s finale, which saw Coco Rocha jumping from a swing and twirling down the catwalk, before being scooped up by a dungaree-clad hunk and rolled away in a wheelbarrow.