Jean Paul Gaultier is a master showman, and has been widely adored since the '80s for the drama and theatricality he brings to the Fashion Week runways. (This is the man who gave the world Madonna's gold, cone-shaped "Blond Ambition" bra, after all.) A signature element of his shows is the choreography: giving models the opportunity to show off their moves instead of a boring, straight walk. In recent years, Coco Rocha Irish danced down Gaultier's fall 2007 ready-to-wear runway and Gaultier went with a "Dancing with the Stars" theme for spring 2014; but for his spring 2016 couture show in Paris on Wednesday, he turned the catwalk into a bona fide discotheque — and the models behaved accordingly.
The show celebrated one of Paris's most storied nightclubs, Le Palace, which attracted some of the world's most famous (and infamous) personalities in the '70s, including Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, Andy Warhol, Grace Jones and Mick Jagger. Models entered the runway underneath a replica of the club's neon marquee, and they took the collection's theme very seriously. In sexy, silk maxi-dresses, Bianca Jagger-esque suiting, easy loungewear and glittering disco gowns, the ladies smoked cigarettes, drank champagne and even carried their sparkly heels down the runway instead of wearing them — a move we've all pulled a time or two after a wild night out.
To ring in the finale, the designer popped out from behind the faux nightclub doors to dance with his cast, a touching moment that led the audience to explode with cheers and applause. While Gaultier made industry headlines last year for shuttering his ready-to-wear business, a decision based on his disappointment in the breakneck pace of the fashion system as it stands, it's great to see that the passion he brings to creating beautiful clothes (and the fantasy that surrounds them) is far from gone.