The (theatrical) show must continue in Paris haute couture

The (theatrical) show must continue in Paris haute couture

Wednesday afternoon, in the offices of Jean Paul Gaultier at street Saint Martin in Paris, experienced one of those increasingly rare memorable moments on a podium. From the outside and in a broad sense, the sensual and maximalist aesthetic of Olivier Rousteing at Balmain and the theatricality of Gaultier’s visual archives have little to do with each other. That’s why at first it’s hard to understand why he chose it for his third haute couture collaboration: the unstructured basics of the Japanese Chitose Abe (Sacai) were part of the designer’s personal wardrobe; and Glenn Martens, the Belgian in charge of Y Project and Diesel, trained for years under him. But Rousteing?

By the end of the parade, it became clear to the audience that honest admiration is a powerful creative engine. Rousteing read Gaultier’s legacy in a very personal way: the bottle of Le Male perfume his father had in the bathroom, which here took the form of boots and dresses; the mesmerizing irreverence of Madonna in the early 90s (there were the corsets, but also that strappy design that left her chest bare) and, above all, the praise of the difference that Gaultier’s long career made. As Rousteing remarked to EL PAÍS shortly before the parade, “Now we talk about racial diversity or non-binarism, but he was the one who led the way.” He himself was taught by Gaultier as a teenager that there was nothing wrong with wearing traditionally feminine makeup or clothing. That’s why he decided to open his show with several men wearing an update to the collection. Tattoo from the French designer, a nod to Rousteing’s own African roots.

A model wears a Jean Paul Gaultier haute couture creation, inspired by the Frenchman's Le Male perfume bottle, during the brand's fashion show on July 6, 2022 in Paris.
A model wears a Jean Paul Gaultier haute couture creation, inspired by the Frenchman’s Le Male perfume bottle, during the brand’s fashion show on July 6, 2022 in Paris.Michael Euler (AP)

They were attended by 44 women reinventing the broad language of Gaultier: corsets, perfume bottles, bare busts, Jeans deconstructed, the hearts and of course the mythical marine that Rousteing himself was wearing when he went out to say hello. Gaultier, who had barely seen a few sketches of the collection, clapped and even blushed in the stands when he discovered the music was kind of to crush of his beloved Mylène Farmer and of his own voice in various interviews. The public applauded each exit in a fashion show where the models had the attitude and the ease more typical of a Ball of sail that of a gateway to use. “I’m inspired by the diversity of the street, so I wanted to be honest and direct with the proposal,” Rousteing explained.

Three proposals by Olivier Rousteing for the new Gaultier haute couture collection.
Three proposals by Olivier Rousteing for the new Gaultier haute couture collection.Peter White (Getty Images) / Pascal Le Segretain (Getty Images)

Another show, although much more conceptual and introspective, is the one imagined by John Galliano in Handmade, the (recycled) haute couture line from Maison Margiela. The British designer explored the possibilities of short film during those two years, and now, in his first post-pandemic couture show, he wanted to incorporate it into a montage that merged theatrical and cinematic visuals. Galliano, who has always been a great storyteller, put aside the opulence of his years at Dior to tell much more intimate stories in the Belgian house.

If in his previous couture collection, inspired by Flemish painting, he spoke, on video, of the struggle of a small community with natural elements through aged and torn clothes, he now wanted to tell a story of cowboys and the titled vampires Inferno Cinemaa kind of meta-narrative on the world of cinema itself with nods to western and golden Hollywood melodramas. Because if there’s one thing Galliano loves, apart from telling stories, it’s revisiting costumes from different eras: here sand-dyed coats, gothic capes and evening dresses from the 1950s, not as grandiose as those of his time at Dior but just as well made. The designer’s work at Margiela, perhaps the conceptual house par excellence, seeks precisely the opposite: praising the imperfection and coarseness of materials and reflecting the passage of time, breaking with canonical ideas of beauty to enhance emotional clothing. and intimate.

Guram Gvasaglia did not want to excite but to make, in his own words, “a real fashion show”. His reality, that is to say the reality of Vetements since the Gvasaglia brothers founded the company in 2014, remains the same, despite the fact that Demna left the creative direction in the hands of his brother, until now manager of the company, the past December: models of different generations walking fast and ironically with clothing stereotypes, from the gray office worker to the celebrities (this time disguised as Paris Hilton), the ostentatious millionaire or the post-adolescent tracksuit. In her first show as a designer, Guram featured all of Vetements’ elements (and, by extension, some of Balenciaga’s). There were the narrow neon-colored glasses and the extra-large ones like helmets, the shoulder pads, the knee-length sleeves, the sweatshirts huge, message t-shirts and even a trench coat printed with the already legendary paintings of moving bags. How could it be otherwise, the place chosen was an abandoned party hall full of rubble in the Pigalle district.

Four of the outings during the Vetements haute couture fashion show on July 7 in Paris.
Four of the outings during the Vetements haute couture fashion show on July 7 in Paris.Victor Boyko (Getty Images)

The closing of the Paris haute couture fashion week was celebrated by the Spaniard invited by the Federation to take part in this exclusive calendar. Juana Martín was also an intimate show, with Israel Fernández singing verses by Lorca and with Rossy de Palma opening a Spectacle title Andalusia, an excellent succession of black or white garments that celebrated its craftsmanship and sartorial tradition by merging genres and traditions: from neon-colored headdresses that imitated the forge made by Vivascarrión to embossed leather shoes designed in collaboration with the house Breton Maison Felger. A collection produced between its workshops in Cordoba and its workshop from Paris, where he settled five years ago. “They asked me how I was going to reflect the light of Andalusia in my black suits, but Andalusia is precisely that, the light that radiates from the black,” the Cordovan designer commented after the show, ” a different tribute, with a certain Lorca – like a drama but also with the optimism that characterizes us”, she explained while Pascal Morand, president of the French Haute Couture Federation, came to congratulate her.

Fendi show of its haute couture collection for the fall/winter 2023 season, this Thursday in Paris.
Fendi show of its haute couture collection for the fall/winter 2023 season, this Thursday in Paris.CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT (AFP)

The free interpretation of other cultures and their clothes was also the starting point for Kim Jones’ proposal at Fendi, which for the first time moved away from Rome, the firm’s headquarters and recurring inspiration in its collections for find it in Kyoto and in Paris, more precisely, in the japonism French Late 19th Century Hand-printed 18th-century kimono fabrics were resurrected by Jones using the same centuries-old technique (called Kata Yuzen) of hand spinning and printing. But the work of the British designer in the Fendi couture line does not seek the spectacular, nor, of course, appropriation: the vast Japanese textile tradition serves here to revive the technique. However, the result is much more convenient than your starting point. The kimono is the basis of flowing dresses and tunics whose mastery comes from shades that are not visible at first glance.

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