Jean Paul Gaultier, or “l’enfant terrible”, is up to his wicked ways again. He has long been a force with which to reckon, but recent seasons have seen his strengths faltering. However, Fall/Winter 2014 brought a renewal of the Jean Paul Gaultier message. His British-Punk-in-Space themed collection challenged the establishment in more ways than one; he also took on ageism by tapping both mature citizens and toddlers for a role on his runway. Maybe he’s feeling the pressure, as some of the shining stars in fashion are under 30 (Olivier Rousteing at Balmain is just 27, while J. W. Anderson is 28 and Alexander Wang is 29) but, at 61, JPG still has ways to go before hanging up his shingle.
It’s appropriate that his ageing punks found an outlet on the runway – they actually watched punk evolve from its violent origins on London’s Kings Road. But Gaultier is not trying to upset the elitist status quo in the industry; he’s trying to rewrite it. Why create only for the young and beautiful? That’s a limited substratum that could cut off commercial success at the knees. Instead, Gaultier gives us the gamut – from Anglomania to outer space, from pint-sized to prime. The focus of the collection was on slick, futuristic outerwear, liquid-metal maxi dresses, and punk-infused separates. Union Jack sweaters and tartan toppers played against leather tunics and padded ski suits. It was flashy, it was decadent, and it was a lot of fun. The effect was akin to something Ziggy Stardust would wear if he were descending to earth in 2014, but for now he’s still floating in a tin can high above the world.
Photos: Courtesy of GoRunway