Show Review: Jean Paul Gaultier Spring 2012 Haute Couture

Jackie O, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn. Several now-deceased style icons have  inspired designers. Some have been used ad nauseam (read: Marilyn Monroe). But Jean Paul Gaultier looked to Amy Winehouse as the muse for his spring couture collection.With a barbershop quartet singing her hits in the background, Gaultier opened his show with a signature Winehouse look: black pencil skirt, white collared blouse with a black bra peeking out, and a beehive to boot, capturing the gritty-yet-ladylike rockabilly style  the singer was famous for. The interpretation of Winehouse’s style was executed with more subtly as the show progressed, but her spirit could certainly be felt on the runway.

Gaultier presented a bevy of suit separates that were polished and tailored, but not lacking in sex appeal: he added an element of cheek with sheer paneling and lace, nipping waists with corseted cummerbunds. Suit jackets were sculpted and warped to show a little skin: a bra here, a bare shoulder there. A side of one jacket transformed into a shawl, draped around the model’s shoulder as if it was falling off– as many of Amy’s clothes were when she wore them.

Smoking models sauntered down the runway in the quintessential Winehouse uniform: a  pencil skirt and tied button down blouse, updated in bright, punchy hues. Also included were several of Gaultier’s signature corsets and embellished cocktail dresses with molded hips and busts.

To finish, the models walked out again donning veils. Decorated with curling paisley patterns, sequins, and fringe, in a selection of black silk and tulle, these veils were not made for the conventional bride, but, as Gaultier quipped, for “happy brides.”

Gaultier’s runway shows are always so joyful and a bit quirky. I appreciate this tribute to one of my favorite artists, and that he was not so heavy-handed in his interpretation. What do you think?




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