Gaultier gives Paris fashion Gypsies, Valentino goes Renaissance

Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:47pm EST
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By Alexandria Sage

PARIS (Reuters) - Jean Paul Gaultier chose swirling translucent veils, the sound of sitars, and the insouciance of Gypsy culture for his haute couture show on Tuesday, while Valentino opted for an ethereal yet decorative look that evoked the bloom of the Renaissance.

The Spring 2013 collections presented on Wednesday by the two design houses, one French and one Italian, found inspiration from different epochs and parts of the globe, pointing to the diversity seen during Paris Fashion Week, the creme de la creme of the global fashion industry.

Gaultier, often labeled the bad boy of French fashion, turned eastward to India for inspiration, transporting his audience to Rajasthan, with sinewy models sporting oversized earrings and billowy veils in periwinkle, tangerine and pink.

Valentino - under new owners the Qatari royal family and with the designing duo of Maria Grazie Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli at the helm - presented a more sober but no less theatrical vision. Gowns that a 15th century queen would have been proud of featured patterns that brought to mind iron grillwork in a formal garden.

This range of options for women willing to shell out thousands of dollars for a made-to-order haute couture outfit help prop up the global women's luxury apparel market, estimated at 27 billion euros ($35 billion) and growing, according to consultancy Bain & Company.

Only a small number of houses such as Christian Dior, Chanel and Giorgio Armani are allowed to exhibit haute couture in Paris, where manufacturing is carefully regulated and work must be sewn by hand in order to be considered haute couture.

At Gaultier, majority owned by Spanish family luxury group Puig, some expected an elephant as the grand finale, but instead a delightful Mother Goose moment saw an elaborately decorated bride flipping up her voluminous skirt to reveal 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 he evoked the Gypsies, a migratory people whose centuries-old ancestral home is India.   Continued...

A model presents a creation by French designer Jean Paul Gaultier as part of his Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2013 fashion show in Paris January 23, 2013. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier