#SuzyCouture: Jean Paul Gaultier – Fashion On Ice
Baby, it was hot outside. And also inside the Jean Paul Gaultier show, where hair drooped and make-up dripped and perennial French actress Catherine Deneuve had to be handed a glass of water to cool down.
But the designer himself had no problem. He was in a la la land of snow and ice; Christmas carols and Courchevel-meets-Val d’Isère was the theme of the show.
There was an evening jacket developed from puffer fabric, a traditional Fair Isle ski sweater – except that it was embroidered rather than knitted. A familiar, all-in-one outfit of the ski slopes was transformed with drapes in gold silk shining like the sun.
A persistent woolly pompon hat and yeti boots underlined the theme.
Just in case the wilting audience failed to grasp the message, the programme named each outfit with a pun on the snow bunny theme from ‘Anna Winter’ (a puffy gilet) to ‘Gstaad the way it is’ for a constellation of glitter paillettes.
I have had mixed feelings about the shut down of JPG ready-to-wear three years ago by the mighty Spanish Puig perfume business that is behind Gaultier. Left only with his haut couture line, the designer had recently turned his shows into a prank.
But not for autumn/winter 2017 couture. The presentation may have been a lark, but the actual clothes were marvels of construction and reflected the mood of the moment.
Wide shoulders, which Gaultier knew so well in his 1980s heyday, were re-cut: wide and angular for the new millennium. It is the insouciance of his work – the one-shoulder ‘onesie’ impeccably fitted but presented so casually – which marks Gaultier out.
In a show period with a chaotic mix of seasons and of ready-to-wear designers, people have been asking ‘What is haute couture?’ Jean Paul Gaultier, however silly and frivolous he might seem, is the real thing.