Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Spring Summer 2011 Paris

Glorious. Today, Jean Paul Gaultier delivered an haute couture collection of substance that felt like a dream, ending with a finale that will go down as a landmark in Andrej Pejic’s young modelling career. The impossibly elegant voice of Madame Catherine Deneuve introduced each of the forty-seven beautiful, edgy and glamourous outfits, modeled confidently by women (and one man) who held numbered cards. Exactly how fashion collections used to be presented back in the day.

Themes and inspirations were Punk and le Can-Can, two of the most outrageous underground scenes of their time. Both have posthumously been turned into kitsch pastiche by popular culture yet today Gaultier reminded us all that punk and Can-Can were instigated by extreme rebels, creating at the margins of society.  The humour in contrasting this with the dignified touch of haute couture was very tongue-in-cheek.

The voice of Catherine Deneuve introduced us to dresses that had names such as ‘Trench Can-Can’, ‘The Clash’, ‘Joy Division’, ‘Stinky Toys’ (a French punk band), ‘Punk Canaille’ (punk rascal), ‘Toulouse Lautrec’ and, entertainingly, a vibrantly coloured tuxedo named ‘Anarchy In The UK’ plus a two-piece named ‘Siouxie Sioux.' Her script, written in extremely genteel French, proposed that these were outfits for the afternoon or a meeting at Jeu De Paume, gallery openings or shopping on the King's Road. 

Varnished leather, blue Organza, ruched silk tulle, blue Gabardine, satin and crepe were amongst the materials though silk was in the majority. The craftwork was evident and the work of Gaultier’s seamstresses and artisan’s was applauded unanimously when the wedding dress glided down the catwalk.

Wearing a tall, white, mohican feather headress adorned with a black veil, 19 year old male model Andrej Pejic teetered (but didn’t tumble) which did nothing but add to the drama of both the moment and his dress. The wedding gown was sheer and shuttered with stripes of tulle; Gaultier's signature Bréton stripe in white.

After Pejic's exit, dancer Psykko Tico from the Crazy Horse Cabaret Club took to the catwalk, lifting her dress to reveal a circle of legs printed on the inside of her ruffled skirts. High kicks and the splits ensued to the crescendo of the Can-Can tune, greeted by woops from the audience some of whom were up on their feet. Bravo Monsieur Gaultier.

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