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Dazed Backstage at Jean Paul Gaultier SS15
Magdalena Jasek (OUI) as Grace Coddington, backstage at Jean Paul Gaultier SS15Photography Skylar Williams

Jean Paul Gaultier SS15

Gone but not forgotten: Jean Paul Gaultier says goodbye to ready-to-wear with a celebratory beauty pageant extravaganza and retrospective collection

Initial reaction:

Vive la Miss Jean Paul Gaultier 2015!  Or rather it should be "Vive the original l'enfant terrible of fashion!" who very sadly bowed out of ready-to-wear with an extravaganza of a show staged in the legendary Le Grand Rex cinema (the largest of its kind in Europe) as a beauty pageant of the campest order. Camp is perhaps the overriding criticism that has pervaded Gaultier in recent years, but this is a man who has done it all and has nothing to prove in the fashion world. Therefore, cue a spectacle of a show, which had master of ceremonies Alex Taylor jovially run through categories such as Miss Mariniere, Miss Femme de Footballeur and Miss Smoking, where Gaultier revisited his greatest sartorial hits. Fun and memorable japes included Pedro Almodovar muse and actress Rossy de Palma stripping off her trench to strut around in her lingerie with zeal, the ludicrous but awesome lucha libre fight at the end and the roll call of elegant "older women" in the Miss Vintage category. Gaultier has over the years given us spectacle in terms of casting, theatrics and conviction of a theme. Miss Jean Paul Gaultier 2015 had all of that in spades and was one big fat reminder that Paris ready-to-wear fashion week will have a distinct and specific Gaultier-shaped hole that can't be replaced.  

Rédactrice moment:

The most popular portion of the show had to go to Miss Rédactrice de Mode. Fashion editors like Grace Coddington, Emmanuelle Alt, Carine Roitfeld and Suzy Menkes came to life on stage as Gaultier paid homage to them with model doppelgangers. The real editors in the audience were touched and enthusiastically cheered on by their supporters. It was a thanks to the media figures who have supported Gaultier throughout the years. We wonder if anybody left out of the roll call was fuming not to have had this special "Rédactrice" treatment.

Gone but not forgotten:

It’s worth remembering that whilst Gaultier’s presence will still remain on the haute couture calendar and in the perfume arm, that this was a man who tore through the ready-to-wear scene with street-inspired verve and irreverence for the establishment, when he launched his line in 1976 with a collection that included dresses made out of braided straw. Punk, man-skirts and cone bras wouldn't have existed in the haute couture world. And likewise, some of the garments we saw tonight (yes there were clothes beneath the spectacle) reminded us how his ready-to-wear can still resonate. Loco Logo cycling gear in the Miss Tour de France section had a whiff of his old Junior Gaultier line, which is now highly collectible amongst a new generation of fans. Footballer's wives in bandana-patched denim and a tiered umbrella skirt in the Miss Meteo section had wit and energy. Whilst the mood of the show was celebratory, it was twinged with sadness. Gaultier's career will chart a different and more rarified path now, leaving memories and what will now be "vintage collectibles" in his wake.