Jean Paul Gaultier knows how to work a theme, and he went all out for his latest presentation, Rosbifs in Space — a sly dig at the English in typically cheeky French style. The venue was the incredible, futuristic Communist Party headquarters, designed by Oscar Niemeyer. We sat in the main conference room bathed in green light, along with Rihanna and Beth Ditto, and it felt like we were in an actual spaceship. The staff wore uniform white boiler suits with the tagline ‘Gravity liberty cup of tea.”
Our journey began with an outrageous air hostess telling us to fasten our seat belts, and joking “last call for frocks, they’re always boarding late” (they were) and “can the French please refrain from smoking in the cabin?” The theatrics were of Hollywood proportions, and the scene was set for a grand performance, as the first two models took the place of the check-in desk at the airport. All of the exits followed suit, dutifully handing over tickets before being let on the runway through the audience, with the occasional body check, demands to look in bags, pockets, or open the many zips on the clothes.
It was tremendous fun, and we were transported into the designer’s universe on Starship Gaultier. The first section of the show was gray and silver, retro futuristic, with transparent hoods, oversize piping, plastics, safety belts, and silver leather to the sounds of Kraftwerk. Then the soundtrack switched to the Sex Pistols and the ‘English’ came out. Stereotypical 70’s punk styles, with classic tartans and bondage straps, union jacks, mohawks, and zips aplenty. The models were the most eclectic we’ve seen on the Paris runways, spanning all colors and ages.
It was a statement of universality, simply: we can all enter into the Gaultier spirit, no matter our age or background.