Jean Paul Gaultier X Julien Dossena: Couture AW23

This season, Julien Dossena was handed the keys to Jean Paul Gaultier‘s haute couture atelier as its latest guest designer, retreating away from his day job dishing out glitzy designs at Rabanne for a texture-obsessed, one-off collection.

The show was structured like a series of characters, each one based on an archival JPG collection and named after an area of Paris. To the sound of footsteps and street ambiance, Natalia Vodianova steered a gaggle of Gaultier girls through blacked-out runways. From pinstripe trouser suits to Irish-lace gowns, uniforms to apron dresses, diadems and jewelled circlets to 1984 cone bras, his proposal reflected the JPG aesthetic gorgeously, with some bits even meticulously made to look vintage. 

Gaultier’s giant trapper hat got an XXL upgrade. His floor-sweeping “Rabbi Chic” coats were reconstructed. The off-the shoulder lace of “La Concierge est Dans l’Escalier” show became Edwardian tops. That same subversive wit that cheekily named Gaultier the ‘Enfant Terrible of French’ fashion could be glimpsed through a duet of sheer dresses with embroidered trompe l’oeil pubic hair budding between the legs. 

But it was a double-salute, really. One to Gaultier and to Paco Rabanne (who died in February), with a slanted sort of bohemian glamour and signature metalwork woven into jackets, dresses or a top made of ties. Between two pairs of models hung swathes of silver and gold chainmail – a man seemed to carry a woman’s train and two Cleopatrian goddesses were connected at the hip. Together, they were basically bulletproof. 

Photography courtesy of Jean Paul Gaultier.

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