| PARIS, July 3
PARIS, July 3 Jean Paul Gaultier sent glittering
panthers and colourful clowns down the runway on Wednesday as
the French designer tapped into feline glamour and Fellini-esque
nostalgia for his Autumn/Winter 2013-2014 haute couture
Gaultier, often labelled the bad boy of French fashion for
his irreverence and camp sense of fun, presented a highly
theatrical show as part of Paris fashion week in which looks
inspired by felines and Federico Fellini shared centre stage.
Bearing names such as "Catwoman," "Pink Panther" and
"Cruella de Ville", the high-drama outfits were sewn from
leather, jersey, feathers, cashmere and velvet.
Even the models' upswept hair was made to resemble the
spotted fur of a jungle cat.
"Feline print has been always in fashion in haute couture,"
said Gaultier backstage, adding that the look still has its
"bordello" connotations. "I tried to use it in a new way."
That meant mid-length coats resembling leopard skin that
were actually made from feathers: "It's like a chicken mixed
with panther," joked Gaultier.
Gaultier, who has always professed his deep love of cinema,
said the clown motifs were influenced by "The Clowns," a film by
Italian director Federico Fellini, and David Bowie's "Ashes to
Ashes" video in which the singer is dressed as a clown.
Deep V-shaped external pockets imparted a square silhouette
to hips on trousers and dresses that evoked the look of a
harlequin, while tubes of fabric in outlandishly round, swirling
patterns enveloped the body in dresses and tight jackets.
Despite the over-the-top theatricality, the artistry in
Gaultier's work is meticulous, as befits those ateliers chosen
to show at the Paris haute couture shows.
Couture garments, which are painstakingly hand sewn by
highly skilled artisans, are the creme de la creme of the $275
billion global luxury industry.
Jean Paul Gaultier is majority-owned by Spanish family
luxury group Puig.
For those opting for a more sombre tone, the Giorgio Armani
Prive show on Tuesday night entitled "Nude" featured fluid
fabrics like tulle and organza in pale and subtle tones.
Evening gowns were encrusted with Swarovski crystals while
black feather necklaces imparted a dramatic flair.
(Reporting by Alexandria Sage, editing by Paul Casciato)