PARIS--Yesterday, Jean Paul Gaultier galloped away from Hermès in style. After seven years of loyal services, he announced last May that he was leaving. And last night, the whole fashion sphere gathered in the industrial space of La Halle Freyssinet to watch his final bow.
The Spring 2011 collection accurately reflected the essence of the Gaultier-Hermès collaboration: bondage meets horseback riding, provocation meets tradition--and, as always, admirable tailoring, JP style. Dirt had been scattered on the ground. The lights went off, and a curtain concealing the back of the runway was lifted. An entire stable was revealed to the crowd, filled with horses and riders in white shirts, in a calm gait.
The show kicked off with full-on horse-riding gear, complete with riding crops, knee high flat boots and jodhpur pants. The models looked like modern-day amazons, with slicked braided hair, structured jackets and a determined walk.
A few minutes into the show, upbeat guitar sounds pouring into the soundtrack announced a Spanish element to the collection: large black hats and long, flowy dresses intruded the masculine element of the line.
No big surprise there: Gaultier has often used references to Flamenco and Corrida to counterbalance the radical elements of a collection, both for Hermès and his own.
The rest of the collection was a play on leather, including harnesses, high-waisted trousers, cardigans à la Jackie Kennedy, and full leather skirts.
After the brochette of today’s faces, including Karlie Kloss, Coco Rocha and Karolina Kurkova, the last walk was also a bow to Gaultier’s career: Farida Khelfa, his muse in the '80s, came out and boldly marched down, to the claps and cheers of the audience.
She was closely followed by Gaultier, who posed with her, a rose between the teeth.
We don’t doubt Lemaire’s ability to live up to Gaultier's work for Hermès--but let’s hope Jean-Paul will now dedicate his time to putting us back into cone bras!