Thursday, January 29, 2009

Beauty, Writ Large

Jean Paul Gaultier is an institution and his recent collections have felt historic--in a way. They've seemed a bit stuck in his hey day of the late '80s/early '90s. But this season's couture show is phenomenal. The flourish of the calligrapher's pen, with it's inky black lines and unfurling curls is the clear inspiration behind his gorgeous dresses and pantsuits. From the minute crisscross of a frequently used netted material, to the grand swirls of neck pieces, the designs go from sharp lines to loops and back again. The lines also seem to reference the black tape that couturiers use to establish the draping on dress forms, bringing the designer's process to the surface. Gaultier's corset-minded wear has always been showy about its underpinnings, but seeing these dresses with their structures and bustles and stuffing on clear display is like an education in dress building. But nothing is too technical, there is a nice balance of romance to center the pointed stiffness. I love this show. Here are some money shots (I swear couture closeups are practically pornographic to me. TMI? Hope not...):

Love it. I wish the hair and makeup were a bit more flattering and a little less concepty, but the garments are both interesting and gorgeous. This is shaping up to be a strong couture season. Just when you think it's down and out, up it comes!

Photos by Alessandro Lucioni/ Imax Tree and Mateo Volta/ Imax Tree via

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