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In the footsteps of JP Gaultier, Olivier Rousteing humorously questions gender



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Jean Paul Gaultier with Olivier Rousteing. Image: AFP Forum

Pointy breasts made famous by Madonna, but also female corsets with penises and moulded busts of pregnant women: the designer Olivier Rousteing questioning gender with his collection for Jean Paul Gaultier.

Men in colourful skin-tight jumpsuits or sailor-patterned jumpsuits, perched on strong platform soles, opened the show on Wednesday evening in Paris, something unprecedented for a haute couture collection that is reserved almost exclusively for women.

"You can't have a Jean Paul Gaultier show without having the man and the woman. He fought for gender, for genres. I couldn't do a cliché show," Olivier Rousteing, 36, artistic director of Balmain and director of the show, told AFP.

Jean Paul Gaultier, who stepped down in January 2020 after 50 years in the business, now invites now invites a young designer to make a haute couture collection for him each season collection for him. Olivier Rousteing, followed by eight million fans on Instagram, is the third after Japan's Chitose Abe of Sacai and Belgium's Glenn Martens of Y/Project.

With Kim Kardashian and her daughter in the front row, next to Anna Wintour, this show was one of the most "people-oriented" of the Paris haute couture week week, which ends Thursday.

Starting the show with men, "it's a post-me step: I've done some mixing, it's very daring," Jean Paul Gaultier told AFP. He recalled that male models were paid less than women and that it was "a shame that it was the only place where women could be paid more".

The rest of the show, where the corset with conical breasts was declined at will by Jean Paul Gaultier, was punctuated by the song "Sans contrefaçon" by Mylène Farmer.

The "armour" theme was also reflected in the choice of materials, such as a fused glass bustier or metal parts. Structured dresses and shoulders bring a Balmain touch to Jean Paul Gaultier.

A moulded bust of a pregnant woman is worn with crepe sarongs. Another, superimposed on a woman's outfit, evokes the male gender.

"He is extremely talented and humorous. That's what can sometimes be missing. I have the impression that he is almost my child," concludes Jean Paul Gaultier.(AFP)

Haute Couture Week
Jean Paul Gaultier