Long regarded the enfant terrible of pret a porter and haute couture I finally think that Jean Paul Gaultier has finally made it. A beautiful highly refined in line and look was his latest presentation for Fall/Winter 2011. Usually we relied on Gaultier for shock tactics, not knowing what he was going to send down the runway next. Collections usually targeted a fairly niche market with not everybody being able to wear his clothes.
The fall 2011 collection had models donning gray beehives with retro wear inspired by the ’50s and ’60s, seductively walking down the long runway. At the end of the runway, the girls took off layers and threw them to the end of the catwalk–perhaps symbolizing the freedom of fashion or maybe just to have a bit of fun as Gaultier is known for. Either way, the smart suits, puffer jackets and bold patterns seemed to celebrate maturity and sophistication.
Even though many described the collection as granny chic, it was highly wearable and suited women of all ages. A purity of line was highly evident, with silhouettes being highly refined and fabrics luxurious. Trailing minks behind her like she has just killed it and is now bringing it home to her mate, she is bold.
Pussy bow blouses in patterned satin along with sparkly tweed pantsuits were hidden under fur trimmed coats, only to be revealed minutes later as each model took off their stuffy overcoats, scarves, and gloves, to discard them at the end of the runway. The only thing was, I was cringing at the thought of so many beautiful clothes being thrown down on the floor!
The song playing whispered, “toutes les femmes sont exceptionelles,” (all women are exceptional) to underscore that old age doesn’t always have to mean dowdy–it can be sexy, too.
To drive the point home, veteran French actress Valérie Lemercier opened and closed the show, doing an alluring striptease with each step. The Gaultier woman has grown up and lives with abandon. She is at least middle age and displays a sassiness that had the audience swooning.
French women just do not age like American women – it’s in the attitude, not the cellulite.