We never thought of Jean Paul Gaultier, the bad boy of French fashion infamous for his revival of the cod piece and for Madonna's conical bustier, as terribly devout. But the designer found inspiration in religion in the beguiling and exotic haute couture collection he presented Wednesday afternoon in Paris.
From an angelic opening where heavenly babes - named Visitation and Vespers - with Perspex haloes and beatific hair edged down from a white curtained heaven, to the final looks that included sexy saints wearing dresses with icons and relics, this was an ode to the Lord, though of fashion more than faith. The latter brides to Jesus were called Salve Regina and Immaculata- the only thing missing was incense.
Gaultier's rich imagination took him on an international pilgrimage that featured Central America, where night owl model Maria Carla got to play the Virgin of Guadalupe, the "Mother of Mexico."
One superb robe in ivory Irish lace with pastel flowers was named Salve Regina, provoking an agreeable epiphany in this author, who sang those medieval antiphons each spring as a boy in the local convent.
With celestial music and organ chorals peeling from the huge speakers in Gaultier's quirkily refined headquarters on the Faubourg St Martin, the mood was ironically devout and, as you would expect with Jean Paul, stylishly devious.
Capping off the entertainment in a divine apparition was Dita von Teese who took the penultimate bow in a transparent gold robe, a look named Macarena, but after the saint from Seville, not from the dance craze. Of course.
Just as well Jean Paul has so few sins to confess- unlikely that. Whatever they were, he deserves a special dispensation for this show.
January 24th, 2007-By Godfrey Deeny Courtesy of Fashion Wire Daily