Feline frenzy meets Fellini on Gaultier's Paris catwalk

Wed Jul 3, 2013 3:38pm EDT
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By Alexandria Sage

PARIS (Reuters) - Jean Paul Gaultier sent glittering panthers and 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 collection.

On the last full day of shows at the prestigious Paris fashion week, he put on a highly theatrical display of outfits sewn from leather, feathers and velvet, and named "Catwoman," "Pink Panther" and "Cruella de Ville".

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, known for his irreverence and camp sense of fun. Speaking backstage, he said 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," said Gaultier, whose work is majority-owned by Spanish family luxury group Puig.

The designer said the clown motifs were influenced by Italian director Federico Fellini's film "The Clowns," and David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes" video in which the singer is dressed as a clown.

Deep V-shaped external pockets gave a square silhouette to hips on trousers and dresses that evoked the look of a harlequin. Tubes of fabric in outlandishly round, swirling patterns enveloped the models in dresses and tight jackets.


Models present creations by French designer Jean Paul Gaultier as part of his Haute Couture Fall Winter 2013/2014 fashion show in Paris July 3, 2013. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes