PARIS Jan 23 Swirling translucent veils, the
sound of sitars, and the care-free insouciance of Gypsy culture
enveloped the Jean Paul Gaultier runway on Wednesday, as the
French fashion designer turned eastward to India for
The Gaultier label, which is majority owned by Spanish
family luxury group Puig, is one of the fashion world's top
brands and the designer's shows for the exclusive haute couture
week provide key creative inspiration for a wider women's luxury
apparel market estimated to be worth $35 billion.
The Paris fashion set found itself transported to Rajasthan
for Gaultier's Spring 2013 Haute Couture show, where sinewy
models sporting oversized earrings and billowy veils in
periwinkle, tangerine and pink took to the catwalk.
One half of the audience expected an elephant to follow as
the grand finale, but instead Gaultier offered a delightful
Mother Goose moment as an elaborately decorated bride flipped up
her voluminous skirt, revealing four little children who
scampered down the runway to applause.
Backstage, Gaultier said it was not the first time he had
been influenced by India, but this time his collection recalled
the Gypsies, a migratory people whose centuries-old ancestral
home is India.
"This time I told myself I'm going to do it in another way.
The real Gypsies were Indian Gypsies, after that they left," he
"It's glimmering, it's incredible the colours that you see,
it's superb," he added, speaking of Rajasthan. "I tried to
recreate a bit of that, but more the Gypsy side, rather than the
Maharaja side. It's more like couture Gypsies."
Haute couture is the creme de la creme of the fashion
industry, where made-to-order gowns costing tens of thousands of
dollars are meticulously constructed by hand.
Only a small number of labels such as Christian Dior, Chanel
and Giorgio Armani are allowed to exhibit haute couture in
Paris, which is carefully regulated.
Global consulting firm Bain & Company forecast in an Oct. 15
report that the worldwide luxury industry would bring in
estimated revenues of 212 billion euros ($281.56 billion) in
2012 of which women's apparel would be a 27 billion euro slice.
Always lighthearted, Gaultier seated the audience - which
included French film star Catherine Deneuve and actress Rossy de
Palma, a muse of Spanish director Pedro Almodovar - in sections
named after Indian dishes such as Biryani.
Guests gasped and began furiously snapping photos at the
appearance of a black form-fitting gown with an exposed
brassiere whose diaphanous hot pink veil added a jolt of colour.
Gaultier played with the idea of the exposed conical bra, a
signature look he created for Madonna in the 1980s, in an
elegant deep purple gown in which both breasts were barely
covered with sheer silk mousseline fabric.
Bold stripes, tight pleating and even fringe figured
prominently in the collection, where a dose of colourful
patchwork offered a fresh, devil-may-care attitude.
Gaultier said the patchwork was harder than it looked to
recreate for haute couture, but the designer offered up a
fashion tip to anyone with scissors who is on a budget.
"In the time of economic crisis, those who are game, take
your old clothes, cut them up and make patchwork! It's a new
($1 = 0.7530 euros)
(Reporting By Alexandria Sage, editing by Paul Casciato)