One of my favourite design studios belongs to Jean Paul Gaultier. Apparently, locals tell me that the actual building is not that special (it was a union hall I believe) but the sweeping staircase leading up to the runway theatre never fails to take my breath away.
The playful Gaultier can always be relied upon to dish up something totally unexpected. Pirates one season, ballerinas the next – all with his uniquely Parisian spins such as stripes, corsets, mens wear tailoring. And this season, he went right over the top with a punky rock and roll collection that paid tribute to Joan Jett (complete with Cherrybomb on the soundtrack). Beth Ditto of the Gossip opened the show and then top models, including a plus size girl, filed out in Joan Jett wigs with David Bowie inspired makeup. Jackets featured peaked shoulders, mesh tube tops stretched over shirts and jeans were ruched or fringed. Many of the models stomped down the runway in Doc Martin style boots with the heels and toes cut out. Ditto finished the show with a song.
Punk and rock, or some quirky hybrid is shaping up to be one of the top trends out of Paris. “I Love Rock and Roll,” Joan Jett used to sing and looks like Balenciaga, Balmain and now Gaultier feel the same way. Two major innovators – Chanel and Louis Vuitton – have yet to put their defining stamp on the season. Stay tuned!
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A short walk from the Viktor & Rolf show was Theory’s temporary showroom where they’re introducing Olivier Theysken’s new collaboration. Theyskens will forever be known as the designer of Madonna’s goth Oscar gown and his ethereal designs for Nina Ricci. In January, Theory stores and select department stores (fingers crossed Holt Renfrew) will feature the collaboration. Much of it is classic Theyskens – ankle-sweeping skirts, low-slung trousers, easy sweaters. I was lucky enough to have Olivier show me the line personally – and he has several of the pieces in his own wardrobe. All of the jackets have a V sliced at the back of the neck – “I just like the way that makes it fit,” he told me as a model showed his bustier dress. Prices will be about 30% higher than the regular Theory collection – a fraction of what his own label sold for. “Now my friends can afford my clothes,” he smiled. Bravo!
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A gloomy Saturday morning starts back at the Place Vendome for Haider Ackerman’s show. I wish he had kept Yohji’s raised runway in place – easier for us to see but would be hell on models heels I guess. Haider’s art pieces deserve to be put on a pedestal. Today’s show started with his usual architecturally wrapped and zipped leathers but quickly evolved into hybrid kimono tuxes flipped and draped to reveal jewel tone slashes of red, purple, jade and fuchsia. He introduced crisp stripes, lacing and obi sashes tied to highlight his keen eye for shape and detail including lacing and trapunto stitching. A triumphant collection for the bespectacled Belgian who counts front row attendee Janet Jackson as a devoted fan.
A short break before Viktor & Rolf who can always be relied upon (oft times literally) to turn the season upside down. This time, with new owner (Renzo Rosso of Diesel in the front row) they riffed on the classic shirt. The show began and ended on outrageous dresses stacked with massive puffed sleeves edged with cuffs and cufflinks, layered collars and stays. In between, they dished up every shirt imaginable – from a lovely off-the-shoulder white shirtdress to shirt cuffs hemming skinny trousers to white satin nightshirts with lace sleeves. A fun collection from a pair of playful designers.