Jean Paul Gaultier Couture Fall Winter 2011 Paris
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Haute couture is the opera of fashion. The emotions are quite simply bigger. Why? It’s the scope of the clothes. It’s the one arena where designers with the aid of hundreds of specialised workers reach for those crystalled/sequined/encrusted stars. Skirts are bigger, shoulders are bigger and the price-tags......undisclosed. It can come as no revelation that Jean Paul Gaultier’s heart lies in his couture collections. Dare I say, it’s as clear as the stripes on his shirt. The penultimate big show of this couture week, a week where my own watery emotions threatened to spill on more than a few occasions (Messieurs Vauthier, Saab, Tisci, vous êtes tous coupable!) I arrived at the Gaultier couture show with a feeling of surrender. If he delivered a show like last season (breathtaking) then I wouldn’t play the steely gal any longer. If tears came, so be it, let them fall. But that wasn’t Gaultier’s purpose today. He conveyed strength and prompted curiousity right from the opening look. The show-notes name-checked the ballet Swan Lake but the clothes covered a wider panorama: Russian Winter. From ice-skating ensembles to dramatic evening coats, it was all about deeply luxurious, warm material and cloth designed to withstand bitter winds; all whipped up into something chic. Tanya Dziahileva, the Belarusian model opened (well of course) wearing a black two-piece trouser suit that sharply buttoned shut a high collar to one shoulder blade. Next came a similarly collared riding jacket but over a billowing knee-length skirt lined with fur. Karolina Kurkova's skirt suit had folds of soft Mahogany leather that ruffled from a belted waist. The second half of the show brought evening wear. It was a depiction of an upper class Russia with outfits very reminiscent of those described in classic eighteenth century literature mixed with modern trench-coats and Parka jackets. Yes that’s right, FW11 is the season that hooded Parka's appeared on a couture runway.  A trench dress came later made from triple jersey and with a very flattering derriere. The length of the show was something in itself, sixty-one looks which ensured that every facet of an aristocratic, exclusive, life-is-cinematic trip to Russia is catered for. 

www.jeanpaulgaultier.com

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