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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jean Paul Gaultier - Fall 2012 Couture

Gaultier's collection slotted with the greatest of ease into his series of salutes to everything that has ever made Paris so justifiably full of itself. Erin O'Connor opened the show as Sand, in top hat, tailcoat, and gentleman's fob. She was followed by a set of Gaultier's peerless meditations on Le Smoking, including a silhouette that quoted Dior's Bar silhouette. It was never a secret that Gaultier would have been a logical candidate for the top job at Dior when Galliano got the gig. This season, when Dior is once again the big story with the Simon ascendancy, there was a certain poignancy in such reminders of that long-ago dream.

But Gaultier went on to prove how he owns his decadent, romantic, polymorphous fashion sensibility. Sand's tailcoat came back time and again, in crocodile, in camel, in the "male couture" that Gaultier inserted with a wincing lack of subtlety, and in the bridal finale, where the tails were splayed across a white skirt in front while the lapels were extended into swan's wings in back. The designer also paraded silken kimono-styled eveningwear that conveyed the fin de siecle feel of outfits named after characters from Proust, Huysmans, and Wilde. The colors-absinthe, coral, gold, papal purple-were the colors of opium dreams. Gaultier amplified the Beaux Arts mood by including a couple of articulated automatons.

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