Jean Paul Gaultier put on his show at the 17th’s Salle Wagram, a venue that is for all intents and purposes his historical home, where he presented some of the most famous and memorable collections of the eighties and nineties (were guessing a reinvention). Location is everything, as anyone would say, and this one would seem to suggest that Gaultier and his somewhat new investors, Spain’s Puig Group, are eager to recapture some of the frisson of the designer’s glory years—around the time when Madonna and the pointy bras he made for her launched him into fashion superstardom of edgy, eccentric designs.
The crowd that gathered tonight was certainly rooting and calling out for Gaultier. A fan whooped it up from beginning to end. But reigniting the brand will require more than the handful of studded leather bustier tops he just happened to have opened the show with. Perhaps expectations are too high (duh, did you see his couture?). Gaultier proposed not only those newfangled cone shirts but a jumble of other ideas, as well: hoods, leather and fur tippets, quilting, and patchwork, it was like a schizo decided to play fashion designer. He leaned most heavily on a logo print featuring big red block letters. It turned up on everything from a slouched-on sack dress to floor-scraping pleated skirts to intarsia fur jackets and coats. Really……a logo print, so original right.
Gaultier was the controversial one back in the day. This collection didn’t venture anything more provocative than the use of all that fur and mullet hair-style that was going on. Instead, he cycled through some familiar beats—the trench, the duster coat, leather jackets, modified marinière stripes—without ever really connecting the dots, just leaving empty blanks. A stricter and I mean stricter edit would’ve helped matters, and it’s more than likely that there’s less fussy stuff back in the showroom that will sell in the stores. But that doesn’t stop this show from being more than a bit disappointing for anyone. Think were being too harsh? Let us know what you think!