Jean Paul Gaultier’s Kitsch Slumdog Millionaire
For his finale, Jean Paul Gaultier sent out a bride in ivory who lifted up her hooped, catwalk-wide skirt to reveal four brightly dressed little girls hiding beneath. Off they ran down the catwalk – as cute as could be - and as the bride walked behind them we could then see her rucksack – with a baby-sized toy doll sticking out of it and a dummy in its mouth.
What are we supposed to make of Gaultier’s couture these days? Kitsch? Fun? The collection was based in India and each look had been given a name such as ‘Calcutta Central’, ‘King Cobra, ‘Taj Mahal’, ‘Hippie Trail’. The models wore beehives with long plaits down their spines, golden hoops through their ears, all manner of ethnic golden necklaces, ankle chains and (rocky) wooden platforms.
Gaultier riffed on his usual themes – trench coats, tuxedos, long sinuous dresses, corsets and plenty of spicy colour: saffron, green chilli, turmeric, cinnamon and gold. There were some amazing patchworked pieces in silks or sequins, some exquisite multi-ruffled skirts and the occasional fine trouser suit or sharp belted mac that recalled this designer’s shows of old, but on the whole it lacked that rare preciousness and fierce discipline that we want to see from him.