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Jean Paul Gaultier Free the Nipple AW18 Couture Smoking

Jean Paul Gaultier just freed the nipple at his Couture show

The French designer sent models wearing perspex chest plates emblazoned with the slogan down the runway

Jean Paul Gaultier has never been one to shy away from making a statement – take the time he placed an ad in French newspaper Libération calling for unusual models (“the conventionally pretty need not apply,” it read), or the conical-breasted corsets he made for Madonna at the start of her Blond Ambition tour as proof of that. This afternoon, as part of his AW18 Haute Couture show in Paris, he made another one: this time in support of the #freethenipple movement.  

Closing the show were a pair of models wearing matching flared trousers and transparent perspex chest plates emblazoned with FREE THE NIPPLE (one in English, and one in French) with their nips v much on show. The enfant terrible of French fashion has built a career on celebrating and emphasising both the male and female form, asking after the show “if men have the right to go bare-chested why not women?” ‘Liberté, Egalité’ said the show notes, and tbh the only thing we’re surprised about is that it’s taken until now for him to make his disdain known in such a way.

As for the rest of the collection? Gaultier centred it around the theme of ‘Smoking. No Smoking’ – which was a statement in itself, given the French government have just announced they are set to implement a smoking ban in Paris’s public parks (we predict uproar). Twisted takes on classic smoking jackets, smoke-thin sheath dresses, and androgynous tailored tux styles all featured heavily. Closing the show was, of course, Gaultier’s bride – who this season made her way down the runway as if engulfed in a cloudy haze of smoke, with her whisper-light grey gown smouldering out behind her and a transparent panel covering her face and chest.