Paris haute couture: Olivier Rousteing for Jean-Paul Gaultier, Maison Margiela, Elie Saab, and Viktor & Rolf
In an uber busy Wednesday of shows, one flitted back and forth across the city as four highly individualistic couturiers delivered their visions of modern glamour, winning applause throughout the day. We witnessed Olivier Rousteing for Jean-Paul Gaultier; Maison Margiela; Elie Saab, Viktor & Rolf.
Jean-Paul Gaultier by Olivier Rousteing: Talk about a triumph
A major artistic accomplishment for Olivier Rousteing, in an all embracing homage to Jean-Paul Gaultier, making him the third designer to have created a couture collection for the former enfant terrible de la mode.
Rousteing riffing through scores of Gaultier references, making the DNA of Jean-Paul his own, in a proper fashion moment.
Opening with over a dozen menswear looks, incorporating elements of punk, Maasai imagery and haughty naughty sailor looks. Kicking off with Aztec cyber punks in patchworks of stretch jersey, Breton fisherman tops and wild safari imagery. Accessorized with nose rings and chains; massive bracelets and the first of a series of Pinball Wizard boots, except Olivier’s platform soles mimicked the metallic flacons of great Gaultier scents.
The light altered as soon as the first women’s looks appeared, a full length recreation of the Le Male perfume bottle for women; followed by two voluminous versions of the iconic Madonna cone bustier.
Like the rest of the cast, these gals marched past the photographers’ pit and onto the main balcony of Gaultier’s 3rd arrondissement headquarters, causing the outside crowd of some 2,000 fans to go wild.
Rousteing was also smart enough to blend in his own rock star ideas with gangster chalk-stripe suits and a molded brassiere dress worn by Dutch veteran model Lara Stone which ignited a huge burst of applause. Cheers rippled through the audience that included Ashley Scott and Lucien Laviscount of Emily in Paris fame; Rossy Di Palma; soccer legend Neymar Jr; and three generations American TV royalty – Chris Jenner, Kim Kardashian and daughter North West.
The whole crowd erupted at a pair of faux pregnant models with molded leather breastplates, one black the other white, clutching their tummies. A visual trumpet call reminding everyone of Gaultier’s barrier breaking and tolerance trumpeting collections over many decades.
Everything made with humor and containing lots of future commercial successes. Interspersed with sugar gum pop tunes from Gaultier’s preferred French singer, Mylène Farmer, with news reel reportages on Gaultier, and even Jean-Paul explaining his ideas to straight TV reporters.
At the finale, Jean-Paul and Olivier took an extended tour of the runway and outside balcony, driving the fans nuts. And leaving the house’s Puig family owners with smiles as wide as Cheshire cats.
Maison Margiela: Go west young man, and woman
Johnny Guitar- met-Natural Born Killers in a euphoric cinematic romp at Maison Margiela, presented inside the Théâtre National de Chaillot with roaming gangs of outlaws, road movie film clips and live lip-synching.
Given the scholastic upbringing of the house’s creative director John Galliano, which involved dressing actresses in West End musicals, it’s surprising that he has never ventured so far into fashion theatre as this multi-media display.
Starring a battered and bruised couple with 'aw shucks' Rocky Mountain accents, driving around the desert regions of the Four Corners, projected as a backdrop of three large screens. With what aim it was hard to fathom, just as it was often hard to fathom the clothes.
Long riders in chopped up dusters; undertakers' chiffon fracks and daubed highwayman coats for the cowboys. Bouffant ball gowns; lime green mesh cocktails and dimpled faille frocks for the cow gals.
If you find it difficult to imagine Lily McMenamy as a disapproving mum, then you would be right. Suddenly at the finale, nine beautiful A-line coats, worn by a series of veteran models – like Amber Valletta and Karlie Kloss – reminded us of how great a designer Galliano can be.
All through the 40-minute show, camera men in brown lab coats scurried around filming, making it hard to actually see the clothes. But even so, this was far from being a vintage Galliano, or Margiela, collection
One should never look back too often in fashion, but when a latest collection from a truly great designer – which Galliano is - looks like a cracked version of a designer’s beautiful early vision, it can be salutary warning.
Thunderous applause at the finale, but even if this was a great show, it was a distant echo of what one hopes for from John Galliano.
Elie Saab: Flights of fantasy at the magic hour
Flights of fantasy opened Elie Saab’s latest show, with remarkable feathered gowns and cloaks in a show that also included the couturier’s first looks for men.
Monsieur Elie Saab, like his fiancé and bride, likes rich glamour, as he toured around the late 19th-century towering wrought iron market of Carreau du Temple in brocade suits, beautifully cuts tuxedos and floor-trailing feathered chieftain cloaks.
The same rich cock and marabou feathers in pillbox red and shamrock green chosen for the girls. Before Saab went into over drive with his glistening body con sequined gowns – for the ultimate fantasy bride chic.
“I was thinking of those moments between sunset and the end of the day,” beamed Saab, after enjoying hearty applause at the finale.
Aided by superb makeup, most especially the face paint that looked like molten gold, this was a moment of couture charm in the penultimate day of the Paris season. In a word, Saab will always be a masterful designer for evening, aided by the top-notch atelier he has assembled in his native Lebanon. Now, he is a grand tailor for evening for men as well.
Viktor & Rolf: Morphable mode
The reigning kings of conceptual fashion Viktor & Rolf were back in Paris, and in good form, with a collection whose every look was hyper morphable.
Opening with enormous proportions – meter-wide collars; soaring lapels; and freakishly wide shoulders. Seen in tuxedos; tails; fracks; chalk-stripe Wall Street suits; eight-inch triple collar leather spy coats and City of London broad stripe shirts.
Everything undulating ever so slightly, the collars bobbing up and down, one foot from either side of the face. A cast kitted out in chignons or boobs, rouged lips and endless pairs of aviator sun glasses.
Before designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren took to the catwalk, and semi-undressed one model. Taking out back stays and tightening interior straps, to reinvent each and every look, as ruffled and crumpled chic.
Conceptual, clever, cool, cerebral and crafty, good to see the 50-something Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren back at their best.
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