Saturday Night Fever indeed, at Jean-Paul Gaultier; two blocks away, the throng of black cars disgorging editors was clogging up the side street leading up to the Paradis Latin; one block away, the screams of fans and paparazzi trying to get a shot of French reality TV “star” Nabila could be heard. Closer, the crush was massive, as editors and runway photographers tried to weasel their way through the crowd.
As top billing guests took their seats around the runway, Rossy de Palma and her cohort of judges were fiercely awaiting the contestants. And what a show they put on. For those who never knew the hey-days of fashion, when the supermodels were killing it with their fierce personalities and not just their jutting bones, this was the ultimate trip back into that era. It was a fabulous cabaret moment, with a musical blind test playlist that went from “Roxanne” to “When the rain begins to fall”. When you thought it couldn’t get any better than Coco Rocha, as Danny Rizo, well Karlie Kloss, Hannelore Knuts (the temperature went up just from her tangoing) and smoldering Joan Smalls kept it coming. It may have taken a while to fully take shape but the new generation of Supers has landed.
What Gaultier tapped into was not so much the star power of such musical moments, but the constant shake-up of youth. The music was just a bonus. As for the relevance of his clothes to the here-and-now? They were and some were terrific. Checklist for summer: the mottled silk tracksuit bottoms, Liu Wen’s red rapper threads, more leather jackets than you can shake a stick at. His Parisians, all V-neck Breton top and pencil skirt with sheer sides, was a delicious pastiche that will never get old. His unambiguously transgender formalwear, a warping of a dress and tuxedo showcased the designer’s life-long adherence to the “don’t ask, don’t care” gender views. Read the T-shirt: he’s still fashion’s Enfant Terrible, and don’t you forget he’s cornered irreverent, not irrelevant.