Gaultier's obsessions revealed in 80s costumes

21st March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 21, 2007 (AFP) - Oversized underpants, waffled moon-boots and tutu-draped suits -- as Jean Paul Gaultier marks 30 years of high fashion, a Paris show underlines the "bad boy's" lasting taste for the weird and wonderful.

PARIS, March 21, 2007 (AFP) - Oversized underpants, waffled moon-boots and tutu-draped suits -- as Jean Paul Gaultier marks 30 years of high fashion, a Paris show underlines the "bad boy's" lasting taste for the weird and wonderful.

The show at the Decorative Arts museum adjoining the Louvre features 100 previously unseen stage costumes designed by fashion's "enfant terrible", the majority for a 1985 ballet spoofing both classical dance and high fashion.

Titled "Le Defile" ("catwalk show") after the haute couture shows of the time, the ballet choreographed by France's Regine Chopinot "marked the first time that clothing played the central role on stage," curator Olivier Saillard told AFP. "The clothes determined the dance."

The ballet, which was set on a T-shaped catwalk, featured 14 scenes in which dancers paraded an unlikely collection of finely-made Gaultier clothes, including giant waist-to-knee men's white underpants and tutus sewn around suits.

Saillard said it had taken two years of work to reassemble the costumes stocked in trunks and boxes by the choreographer's dance company. "It was practically an archeological expedition," he said.

Like Coco Chanel who designed for Russian ballet supremo Sergei Diaghilev, or more recently Issey Miyake and William Forsythe, Gaultier worked for a decade with Chopinot, creating costumes for 16 ballets, video-clips and films between 1983 and 2004.

In "Le Defile," the pair, both born in 1952, sent dancers out wearing platform shoes instead of slippers, giant bubble-like costumes made of waffled tulle that parodied tutus, and improbable woolly crinolines.

"The 80s were highly creative years for fashion designers, it was before big business took over fashion, a time when catwalk shows were more spectacular than nowadays," Saillard said.

In terms of fashion history, the exhibition of designs dating back two decades, chronicles Gaultier's obsession with corsets, stripes and the iconic cone-shaped breasts made globally famous by Madonna during her 1990 World Tour.

Gaultier's sense of humour also shines -- some of the costumes feature plastic hairs on legs and elsewhere.

The show, the curator added, highlights Gaultier's influence on the new generation of fashion designers such as Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan and Viktor and Rolf.

The exhibition runs from March 22 to September 23.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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