Fashionista contributor Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
PARIS--There’s always a great danger when fashion designers base a collection around a specific theme and then made the clothes pertinent to their particularly chosen subject. The invitation to Jean Paul Gaultier’s Monsieur show--a white square with bull eyes and black figures in tuxedos carrying handguns with a fuschia “James Blonde” taped over the center target--solicits the possibility that Mr. Gaultier may overwhelmed in complying to the exigencies of the elegant style of James Bond as featured in countless movies over the past few decades. The James Bond films are essentially fashion movies as much as international espionage thrillers. The protagonist, 007, has a certain absolute style whether snorkeling, gambling, or rescuing a damsel in an enemy camp.
But when four dancers dressed as thieves pranced down the runway to the familiar Bond music and the first model emerged wearing a black fitted tuxedo carrying a gun in his right hand, followed by another in a sleeveless vest-skirt-pant wool suit, it was pretty clear that Mr. Gaultier has taken the task of fashioning a new wardrobe for a new James Bond, in this case Blonde, with utter seriousness. This was one of Mr. Gaultier’s strongest men’s shows. The clothes--a camel single-breasted coat with a fur collar and leather shorts; an eight button double-breasted suit with fuschia double face lapel, and a single-breasted wool jacket with an attached zippered mock neck shirt worn with skirt and slim pant--can stand on their own without being wrapped around a theme. Among other standout looks were a quilted leather hooded jacket, a zippered vest, as well as a black shirt and matching pant with an attached skirt flap.
Yet the real innovation in this show was clearly the use of technical and synthetics fabrics as if they were natural fabrics like wool or cotton. There was a black matte neoprene belted coat, and cropped wool jacket and neoprene stretch pants with sewn-on knee-pads. The cropped gold rubber double-breasted short coat with black fur collar had buttons and side pockets pressed in between the two interfacing layers. It made the buttons looked like imprints on the coat.
Humor has been one of Mr. Gaultier’s greatest strengths. Witness a version of James Bond in a fitted single-breasted hot pant-suit with fishnet tights and a leather gun-holder strapped to the model’s right leg. But somehow, this time the idea of a double-breasted wool suit with short shorts on a bearded model--with a fake knife on a black leather belt strapped to his left thigh--seem not only plausible, but did not garner a second look.
**Photos by Imaxtree.