Jean Paul Gaultier gets into swing of the 60s on Paris catwalk

PARIS (Reuters) - Psychedelic swirls, Beatles-style bobs in vibrant colors and plenty of swishing fringes filled Jean Paul Gaultier’s runway on Wednesday, in a celebration of the 1960s designed in homage to avant-garde French couturier Pierre Cardin.

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Black-and-white stripped dresses - ingeniously cut to float down the catwalk from the front while revealing a cinched silhouette from behind - mingled with bold pink or yellow pant suits in the collection, unveiled during Haute Couture week.

Fringes on boots, trousers, dresses and sleeves twisted and turned to the 1960-inspired soundtrack as models strutted down the runway.

Some struck over-the-top poses as they went, like model Coco Rocha, who had spectators swooning as she took to the catwalk with her two-year-old daughter, dressed identically in an asymetric baby-blue gown.

Ninety-five-year-old Cardin, who gave the self-styled bad boy of fashion Gaultier his first stint as an apprentice in 1970, surveyed the show from the front row, with actress Marion Cotillard and singer Paloma Faith also in attendance.

“It’s my beginning. Why not come back to that funny period that was the 1960s,” Gaultier told reporters after the show, adding that he had been in awe of Cardin’s futuristic, geometric designs when he was still a teenager. “Even before I started with him I was looking at magazines, at TV programs on what he was doing.”

“I was very frightened when he arrived (at the show), I wondered, ‘What will he tell me?’” Gaultier added. “I was like a little student of fashion.”

Gaultier, 65, stopped producing ready-to-wear collections in 2014 to focus on his haute couture line and perfumes. His brand is owned by Spanish perfume group Puig.

The couturier, known for his irreverent and playful style, is preparing a musical stage production, the Jean Paul Gaultier Fashion Freak Show, which is billed as a pop extravaganza showcasing eccentric characters and episodes from his life.

The show, which will run from October to December at the Folies Bergeres music hall in Paris, will feature new Gaultier designs as well as some referencing his most famed creations, such a conical bra worn by singer Madonna on tour in 1990.

Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Peter Graff