It was sex without being sexual. It was seductive with miles of modesty. It was sophisticated and chic without being prudish. Although the Gaultier show lost points for its 90 minute delay, the collection restored our faith in the art of seduction whilst keeping our clothes on.
The circus master, the dominatrix; a woman in control had woken up this morning thinking it was time for the suit to return. Top hats and tail coats were all the range with seductively silky lapels and matching ties, catching the light in soft flickers. Lashings of tulle on the sleeves and one PVC-lined corset also played around the stiff lines of the suits adding that lick of sex appeal that Gaultier is just so good at.
Slowly, the style changes. Flapper dresses in dusty peach, green and blue, adorned with the classic fur stole and beaded trimmings were accompanied with a pop of a bright purple trouser-suit, black fur stole in check. Gaultier’s mixture of different generations of modest dressing is a real moment of creative inspiration. Whilst the models are covered up, it’s plain to see with the deep colour pattern and emphasis on embellishment, that these clothes are to seduce. Not only pleasing to the eye, but the sense of empowerment they give the wearer; the classic trick of mystery and allure through showing as little flesh as possible.
Art-deco inspired pieces appeared next. Gold and silver were mixed with a range of metallic shades into abstract shapes and prints on floor-length dresses, with shimmering coats thrown over, topped off with the perfect top hat, once again. Artistic as they were, they were the essence of minimalistic-couture; the beauty was in the design and decoration, making them both wearable and artistic.
For the final pieces, flesh made a comeback with a vengeance, the final layer in the teasing dance. Beaded silk and tulle clung to the model’s bodies, underwear showing through without regret. A golden corset-dress was the final touch to a Gaultier collection, followed by a white, sleeved gown, abstractly cut on the bias with a skeletal-structure white top hat – bringing the show into a full circle of style.
Layer by layer, the clothes shrunk in size or in thickness, from the practical and stylish to the relentlessly seductive. True to form, those who wore them clearly enjoyed it; the new found power and appreciation of such beauty. The show was over but these styles will remain with us – the final act of the seduction circus, by Jean-Paul Gaultier.