PARIS — Jean Paul Gaultier is always up to something interesting. In a 46-year career, France's bad boy of fashion has garnered attention for creating man-skirts, the conical bra for Madonna's "Blonde Ambition" 1990 concert tour, costumes for Bjork, Kylie Minogue, Marilyn Manson and the classic sci-fi movie, The Fifth Element.
Since launching his first prêt-à-porter collection in 1976 and founding his own couture house in 1997, he has featured unconventional models — pierced, heavily tattoed, plus-sized, older — and conventional models doing unconventional things — I was in the audience when model Coco Rocha opened and closed Gaultier's ready-to-wear show in 2007 by dancing an Irish jig.
Gaultier's haute collection is inspired by his vision of an Indian bride being transported to her wedding on an elephant.
For the women attending Liasons au Louvre Trois, host Becca Cason Thrash arranged a visit to Gaultier's atelier to see his work upclose. Located in the trendy Marais district, the Gaultier headquarters also houses a showroom and other workspaces. Many of the designer's intimate runway shows are held here, too.
The 61-year designer wasn't at the gathering, but his team showcased pieces from the spring/summer 2013 haute collection, which was inspired by gypsies and his vision of an Indian bride being transported to her wedding on an elephant.
The colorful collection emphasizes gowns and floaty tops with wide stripes (one of the season's big trends) as well as a draping technique used since he first opened his couture house 16 years ago, when he hired two seamstresses from the atelier of the legendary Madame Grès who have passed on their skills to a new generation, according to Vogue.
Also colorful: Macarons in various shades and flavors were served — and who can turn them down?