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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



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Jean Paul Gaultier: Ava Gardner Avatar

Godfrey Deeny
January 27th, 2010 @ 10:48 AM - Paris

When they make the sequel to "Avatar" and want to add a delicious fashion quotient, the producers need to do two simple things: Use the entirety of the epochal Jean Paul Gaultier couture show, and resurrect Ava Gardner to play the femme fatale leading role.

In a bravura display of technique and imagination, on Wednesday, Jan. 27, Gaultier staged what will probably be the most triumphant couture collection this week in Paris. And, the show will probably still trump anything seen next month during the women’s ready-to-wear shows in New York, London, Milan or Paris, when they start rolling on Feb. 11. This collection was that good, from its Incan femme fatales and Aztec sacrificial maidens to Mexican "Day of the Dead" tragic heroines and Hollywood's Latino movie stars.

Gaultier kicked off with some dark pants suits in an Orson Welles “Touch of Evil” moment; call it Sierra Madre chic. He then ramped up the mood with a rather divine crepe suit with cut out checkerboard hips under a humungous hat that was bursting with cloth flowers and worn with aplomb by sassy model Karlie Kloss.

“I saw 'Avatar' and, like everyone, found it extraordinary. And from there, I began thinking of nature and ecology, and the Latin American tropics and from there it was not very far to Mexico,” explained Gaultier, seconds after posing for photos with Ukrainian actress Olga Kurylenko.

His best looks were his most audacious, mixing the immense quality of his Paris atelier with his own wickedly clever imagination – like an Eldorado gold zibeline satin jacket worn over green tights painted with Aztec motifs and paired with conquistador boots, or a thoroughly remarkable burnished column with turquoise stone appliqués worn by Poland’s Magdalena Frackowiak, the model getting to wear the best looks this season in Paris.

And in case things got a little too literal, the couturier varied the pace with outlandish leather bags that looked like they really were made of coconut leaves, and a space age, revealing violet chiffon boudoir dress - think Princess Leia-lands-in-Machu-Picchu - and a golden nose plate.

Finishing with French-American chanteuse Arielle Dombasle singing a Mexican aria on the runway, Gaultier took his bow to cheers and many an olé.

Ecological mood, effortless imagination, brilliantly executed invention, this show hit all the high spots.

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