PARIS, Jan 24, 2009 / FW/ — Afro wigs and bright colors, Jean Paul Gaultier’s love affair with Africa continues from his menswear collection named Gaultier2 to the newly launched children’s line logically named Gaultier3 or Gaultier Cube as it would be called phonetically.
For Gaultier fans, Gaultier2 (pronounced Gaultier Square) is a true androgynous clothing line wherein men and women actually ‘share’ the clothes. Cut and tailored like men’s clothing, the sizes just go smaller to accommodate the women who want to wear them.
Giving a nod to the somber trend this season, Jean Paul Gaultier created suits and jackets that even bankers will wear. (gasp!) But, don’t worry, his playfulness remains. He added paratrooper straps for perhaps a variety of reasons from just creating an unconventional accessory, reinventing the suspender or a fetish.
And because this is a Gaultier2 catwalk, androgyny has taken center stage. But, while others were tentative, Jean Paul Gaultier demonstrated a sure hand. After all, he started doing this in the 1980s when he introduced men in skirts.
The men and women on the catwalk did more than justice to the collection, but they were immediately upstaged by the children who like their bigger counterparts were also wearing Afro wigs and a beret at times.
Feeling grown up, the boys and girls walked the runway proudly, i.e. until one of the skirts on one of the girls fell! Not knowing what to do, she started crying and sobbing like what 5-year-olds do. The audience wanting to help did not laugh, but clapped hoping to encourage the child to continue walking till the end of the catwalk.
But the child remained still until a female model walked out, stopped where the child was, put back the skirt and held her hand as both of them walked till the end of the runway where both woman and child posed for photographers.
The audience was clapping and laughing at the same time; just seeing a crying child smile again was more than enough. And though this will go down in history as one of the ‘mistakes’ on the catwalk, it was also a defining moment for the show.
Jean Paul Gaultier’s ebullience is well-known. While the economic downturn accelerates as it circles the globe and Europe is showing signs of faltering, the French designer refuse to be pessimistic. Launching his children’s line at the time of a recession is a good indication that he believes things will get better.
Hence, the child-model crying on the catwalk and then another model coming to her rescue so that the child can finish her ‘job’ defines the helping hand that everyone is willing to give each other in the time of need.
When Jean Paul Gaultier received his standing ovation at the end of the show, it was not just for showing a great collection but also for reminding us that we shall overcome the current world crisis.
Photos by FW