‘He was the first real rock star designer and he had a great influence on us – he recognised and defied the conventions of the time, smashing preconceptions,’ said Baz Luhrmann referring to Jean Paul Gaultier and sitting front row in the blood-red House of Horrors that was the Gaultier show set.
The movie director and his costume designer wife Catherine Martin must have been clairvoyant. For this vampire outing by France’s enfant-terrible-turned-couturier took the designer’s career as a reference point.
It ended with Gaultier on his knees in front of the Eurovision Song Contest winner, Conchita Wurst, who was wearing a red and black ‘wedding gown.’
For all the black, blood and gore colours, the vampire looks and the showmanship (including a few falls off stiletto-sharp heels), this was a very fine Gaultier show.
All you had to do as a client was to wash off the blood and there were the fashion codes of the designer: pants outfits cut so perfectly that they were scissored round the body; miracles of fan workmanship turning pleats into a frame for the face; silk and raven feathers melded with mohair; perfectly tailored coats.
Through the collection ran sportswear, as if red rather than blue were the colour of the French football team and that they had passed their uniforms to the other sex.
And they were strong women, heaving with sexuality and attitude, as Gaultier first invented them in the 1980s.
His theme of female empowerment has not changed. But his technique has. This Danse Macabre, played out to the gothic sounds of Marilyn Manson, included so many different outfits that the volume of clothes, in every shape and style, was breathtaking.
Gaultier may not be your cup of blood – but it was a powerful show.