A journey to Japan for Gaultier's Haute Couture fashion show

PARIS (Reuters) - French designer Jean Paul Gaultier evoked a sea journey to Japan at his latest Haute Couture fashion show on Wednesday, in a riot of colours and pleats that drew celebrities including actress Catherine Deneuve and model Irina Shayk to the front now.

To the soundtrack of “La Mer” by Charles Trenet, the show opened with a short series of blue and white striped tops, an emblematic pattern of Gaultier’s repertoire since the 1980s and his famous Toy Boy collection.

From the French coast and its sound of waves, the designer, whose brand is owned by Spanish perfumer Puig, continued his journey to a colourful Japan where he revisited the art of pleating, including in the waffled hair sported by some models.

Wearing high heeled jelly shoes, one model strutted down the runway in an asymmetrical cascade of pleated purple organza on a black bustier and a creme pants, tied together by an obi belt.

Elsewhere neon green tights were coupled with a rainbow of intricately pleated tulle, and the outfits, with extravagant names like “Floating Island”, featured elaborate braiding and embroidering.

A wedding dress of sheer organza built around a see-through cage closed the show.

In one highlight, burlesque artist Dita Von Teese sashayed down the runway to thunderous applause in a translucent black and skin tone dress, with huge pointed shoulders that gave her a fairy look.

Von Teese recently performed in Gaultier’s “Fashion freak show”, a cabaret-style act put on by the designer in Paris and featuring dance, songs, acrobatics and fashion.

Gaultier quit ready-to-wear fashion in 2014 to focus on the one-of-a-kind outfits presented in Haute Couture Week in Paris, as well as his perfume line.

Reporting by Laetitia Volga; Editing by Sarah White and Peter Graff