Jean Paul Gaultier
Making love and wrapping up – the end of haute couture, at Gaultier, Viktor and Rolf, Valentino and Armani
The couture is over. Long live the couture. Or something. Do we really think couture is going to live forever? Yes, probably. There is enough financial muscle, enough press still clapping (I hope not sporadically), and enough clients to spuriously justify that there are women who demand dresses entirely made out of pieces of ribbon or microscopic feather flowers. And the clothes, at their best, are extraordinary.
Two of the most satisfying shows of the current Paris season showed nothing anyone would ever want to wear. No great loss. And no insult, or injury.
That was the point, in fact, of both Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garçons collection and Jean Paul Gaultier’s final ready-to-wear show. Nevertheless, they could not have been more different: something old, versus something new. Looking forward, and looking back.
Fashion isn’t a house of cards – where one ill-judged manoeuvre brings the whole thing tumbling down – but rather a game of Kerplunk!. Meaning, if you twiddle the wrong bit, it makes a lot of noise and you lose a few of your marbles, but the whole thing doesn’t crash to the ground.
That’s what occurred to me when news broke today of Christophe Lemaire’s mutual parting of ways with the French luxury juggernaut Hermès.
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk opens at London’s Barbican Art gallery this Wednesday, the latest stop in a blockbuster transatlantic tour. The retrospective exhibition has the magnitude of a pop concert staged by Madonna, or Kylie, or Gaga even. That’s no random smattering of stars: they’ve all been dressed by Gaultier, at one time or another.
The couture schedule, somehow, was packed this past week. Here are a few words on a few shows for the spring/summer 2014 haute couture week, including Vionnet, Chanel, Valentino and Armani.
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