Warning: Smoking Kills. But Le Smoking can be positively life affirming. Jean Paul Gaultier based his couture show on the idea of tuxedo dressing and tuxedo attitude, both for men and women. The designer, who stepped away from ready-to-wear to focus on couture in 2014, riffed freely on tux dressing, happily blurring gender boundaries as he went. For men, the cummerbund was made in polished patent leather and widened so it became a corset. For women the frills on a masculine dress-shirt were exaggerated into a mini dress. There were witty his ‘n’ hers exits with men in black sequin maxi skirts or swagged bustiers and women in tux trousers with a spray of black feathers serving as a top. Every manipulation of the theme showcased Gaultier’s cutting skills. As for the health implications of smoking, Gaultier literally made light of it, with outfits bearing names that translated to: “Do you have a fag?” “Smokin’ Hot” and “Die Another Day. One model strode the runway in a smoke grey chiffon gown, trailing gossamer plumes of fabric behind her. Oh the glamour! Gaultier can remember a time when fags along with warm champagne, wicked gossip (and maybe a line or two) were the fuel of fashion. Now smoking is banned backstage and fashion is powered by the smoke and mirrors of social media. Pouf.
Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans