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Jean Paul Gaultier’s final show for PFW Spring 2015
You know you have a coveted fashion ticket in your hand when there are people canvassing you on the street to buy it. That was the case this evening for Jean Paul Gaultier’s finale as a ready-to-wear designer in Paris. His fans—many of whom were sporting his looks from season’s past—jockeyed for positions normally reserved for the fairly assertive (ie at times aggressive)
street photogs. I made my way through the crush of fans only to be squeezed into another lineup of ticket holders waiting to get in. Aside from non-celebrities—like the entire family I spotted who were wearing classic Gaultier stripped tops, the star wattage included Catherine Deneuve, Boy George and designers
Alber Elbaz and Rick Owens. Inside the Grand Rex cinema, Gaultier put on a cabaret-like homage to his career framed around a “Miss France” beauty pageant theme. In the end Coco Rocha was crowned the winner—which given her long-standing relationship with the designer, seems only fitting. Rocha told the
New York Times earlier today that he treated models like human beings. “I know that sounds ridiculous, but sometimes you go to castings and they don’t know your name, you’re just there to wear the clothes,” she said. “Gaultier, you will go to his atelier and he has food and he wants to sit down with you. He even took me out to his rooftop to watch the sunset. He takes time with his models and lets them know what the whole show is about. We feel more creative. You want to do good for him. You don’t want to just walk down the runway.”
Which one of these other Canadian models did I chat to after the show?
Moments after the show’s flashy finale, Anais Pouliot was clearly still in awe about what she’d just experienced. “It was an honour to be here tonight,” she said. “At first we were all so worried about having to walk down those stairs in the opening act, but it felt great to be out there. I kept wondering what it looked like for everyone in the audience.” As I had that vantage point, I can tell you it was a true fashion spectacle and a fittingly witty tribute to a man who redefined what it meant to make a “fashion statement.” Beyond his noted pageantry and artistry, Gaultier’s other significant contribution was his desire to bring diversity, in terms of body shape, skin colour, gender and age—to his catwalk. The enfant terrible of French fashion, as he was often called, was a provocative and poignant arbiter of a barrier-free approach to style. As he often said: “It is beautiful to be what you are.” Merci!
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