It looks as if since Jean Paul Gaultier shuttered his ready-to-wear lines last season, with a big fashion blowout which will not soon be forgotten, he has had much more time to amuse himself with his remaining haute couture playground.
In a collection that spanned 61 ensembles, the designer once again is doing what he likes to do best with his clothing — pushing boundaries. As drag stage persona and Eurosong winner Conchita Wurst watched from the front row, Gaultier used the idea of a wedding as a platform to explore creating garments that challenge preconceived gender roles. He did this by simply splitting traditional dress for each sex down the middle. It sounds pretty straightforward, but it is much harder than it looks to pull off successfully a tailored suit on one side and a full-skirted cocktail dress on the other. Or to balance a dress with a voluminous pleated skirt on one hip and a pencil skirt pulling tight along the other.
When Gaultier wasn’t trying to blend man and wife into one, he was coming up with some seriously playful bridal offerings. There was the overalls farmer bride, her face veiled in a beekeeper’s hat. There was the late-to-the-wedding bride, her veil woven into the curlers still stuck in her hair. And then the second wedding bride who decided a white silk trompe l’oeil all-in-one tuxedo jacket and pants was the way to go, her veil casually worn under a black baseball hat.
For the untrained eye the collection could have looked like it was all just fun and games. And even those who were happy to play along felt the ceremony went on a tad too long. But there was much to be admired in this collection besides the appreciation of the designer’s talents at tailoring on all those split personality ensembles.
An absinthe green satin dress was a knockout, as were the smattering of python-themed designs peppered throughout the show. And the sky blue satin dress that incorporated a denim jean waistline was just begging to be worn by a daring young ingénue on a Hollywood red carpet.
When the final exit revealed itself to be supermodel Naomi Campbell as the proverbial bridal bouquet, this collection had reached its playfully outlandish apex. All that remains to do now is see which of these brides will ever actually end up making it to a church.