- Jessica Michault - Editor in Chief
This season Jean Paul Gaultier abandoned his headquarters on rue Saint Marin in the third arrondissement in Paris, where he has shown all of his collections for the past several years. Instead he decided to present his fall/winter 2013 collection at the Salle Wagram. But this wasn’t so much a new direction for the designer, more a nostalgic look back as the venue was the place where Gaultier held his shows in his eighties heyday.
Retro too was the layout of the show itself. The catwalk was set in the old “T” shaped design that had models walking to the end of the runway and then turning to hit the two tips of the “T”. Crossing back and forth in a way that looked to be lost on many of the show’s models, if the howling pack of photographers – who found their “money shots” blocked by girls hovering to long on the end of the catwalk- was any indication.
After seeing the venue and the set it was not unexpected to see Gaultier also dust off some old sartorial ideas to trot out onto the catwalk. The show started off well enough with the designer returning to his fetish piece- the conical corset- made famous by Madonna and also the inspiration for the bottle of the designer’s award wining fragrance. For those who still didn’t get that this show was a trip down memory land a bottle of the designer’s “Classic” perfume was waiting for them on their seats.
In this collection that corset became something akin to body armor, cut in a stiff fabric with silver button closures covering the torsos, worn by a of pair of models that opened the show. Or looked at from another angle, the structured shape was also reminiscing of a Stockman dressmaker form on which the designer has crafted so many of his iconic pieces. From there Gaultier once again sent out variations of his classics - the trench, a mod take on the marinière, the tuxedo – which didn’t feel so much new as just different.
What was new in this show was the designer’s heavy leaning on a odd print that echoed the shadow box backdrop which featured the backlit silhouettes of women. It showed up as a loud print on a number of silk dresses and skirts or more abstractly on a myriad of furs (this show was full of them). In a time when the fashion mood is moving away from bold prints it made for a peculiar direction for this innovative designer to take.
Break this collection a part and there were a few takeaway pieces in the show. The great leather coats, the fluid plisse skirts, a patchwork fur. But as a whole it felt as if, in looking back, Gaultier had lost the path forward.