Stylish & Solemn: Jean Paul Gaultier At Paris Fashion Week


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Jean Paul Gaultier was once quoted as saying “I start each collection thinking how I can refresh my classics,” and he seems to have taken that to heart when considering his designs for the Autumn/Winter Paris Fashion Week. Unlike his 1980’s inspired collection of last year, where models were made to look like iconic popstars, the 2013 show was far more subdued, sensible and sober.

Out With the Old, in with the Renewed

Known for his eccentric, flamboyant style on the runway, with themed shows, androgyny, multicultural influences and generally dramatic displays, the 2013 show was certainly a departure from his repertoire. However, fashion industry insiders speculated that it was in an effort to appeal to his more serious clients. The designer reworked some of his classics from the 80’s and 90’s, and channeled what Vogue deemed “post-apocalyptic punk” with a fierce, bohemian influence.

The show opened with studded leather tops, and proceeded to showcase items such as sequined skirts, peplum jackets with cone-shaped busts, long black and red pleated chiffon skirts, fur stoles, fitted trench coats, sharp-shouldered coats, sack dresses and patchwork furs. The display also featured plenty of metallics, leather, silks, fur and knits, as well as 80’s inspired Polaroid prints and 70’s pleats. Gaultier focused on plenty of layering and contrast – indeed, his overall theme for the collection was “Patchwork”, particularly apt since nobody seemed to be able to adequately summarize his collection. The models, illuminated with red lighting, wore mismatched wigs and toupees on their heads, echoing the patchwork, mix-and-match theme.

The Dutch Connection

Jean Paul Gaultier

In addition to his show at Paris Fashion Week, Gaultier also has a display on at the Kunsthal gallery in Rotterdam, entitled “Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier”. The collection is Gaultier’s first international exhibit, and contains around 140 avant-garde garments created throughout his career in fashion. Madonna’s iconic cone-bra and various outfits used in director Pedro Almodovar’s movies were also on loan at the exhibit. In addition to the clothes themselves, there are also photographs, sketches, videos and fashion show recordings to make it a true multimedia experience. When questioned on his fashion philosophy, the designer replied, “Fashion is still full of outdated conventions and clichés that no longer fit the times. Our culture has always valued the masculine side of men more than a certain femininity or sensitivity. That’s why I like reversing the roles and breaking the established conventions”.

Grace Matthews is a London-based fashion blogger whose requirements for a good night out include comfortable shoes, smart evening tops and a conveniently locate parking space. (Happy hour cocktails don’t hurt either.)

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