Jean-Paul Gaultier paid a personal homage to French actress Micheline Presle who inspired him to become a fashion designer at his haute couture show for next winter on Wednesday, the last day of the collections.
He said he remembered seeing her when he was a child in the film Falbalas which describes the world of fashion incredibly well, and that steered him towards making fashion his vocation.
Presle s daughter, the director Tonie Marshall, was clearly moved as she watched the show, which also celebrated the golden age of Hollywood.
Gaultier put his smoldering screen goddesses, with their blonde hair and vermilion lips and prominent bosoms, in red-carpet sheaths with sweeping trains. They sported long black gauntlets like Rita Hayworth in Gilda and fox fur, casually wound round their heads into a bandeau or draped over their shoulders as a stole, showing its shot silk chiffon lining.
There were constant witty reminders of the cinema, in his film reel print for a skirt, which was also a motif on his signature corsets in clear plexiglass.
Sequins made from cut up film reel were spattered over a mini dress.
For the finale, the faces of stars like Bette Davis, Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich were projected one by one onto the veil of the traditional bride, momentarily erasing her feature.
Lebanon s Elie Saab opted for an all-white winter with his collection, right across the spectrum from glaring and dazzling to more muted mother-of-pearl and ivory, but nonetheless enforcing a strict color bar.
It was hard by the end of the show not to feel as though one had been watching a succession of brides, as virtually everything was lavish and fancy enough for a girl s big day. And the smart cream cocktail suits would be just right for the mothers of the happy couple.
Shoulders were important, whether sculpted like origami folds, or built-up with big appliqué flowers, twinkling with crystal fringes or cocooned in maribou feather boleros.
For evening gowns were often single-shouldered, with draped cowl necklines or fichus tied behind over bare backs.
Floor-sweeping silk chiffon trains were sprinkled with sequins, rhinestones and more appliqué flowers.
Quirky French designer Franck Sorbier, who can t afford to mount a big runway show, is ingenious about finding alternatives. Last season it was a charming film, this time he showed 10 designs on live models of both sexes as tableaux vivants.
One model sat on the floor with her long bordeaux velvet coat spread about her in a circle, allowing close scrutiny of the intricate over-embroidery in chenille and ribbons in a riot of colors, hot pink, red, saffron and lichen green.
Her beau sported a riding coat with tie-dye faded rosewood velvet panels and black seams bristling with tiny black safety pins.
A male model lounged on a chaise longue in a glam rock patchwork coat with a feather boa, inspired by France s veteran rocker Johnny Hallyday, while another slumped in a sumptuous patchwork dressing gown made up of vintage Italian silk ties cut up into hundreds of pieces with frayed edges in a design dubbed the hangover.
Martin Margiela s approach is similar as he relies on scavenging materials for recycling, which are deconstructed and laboriously put together into a new form.
Precious and throw-away are treated with equal reverence, from vintage fur coats to the plastic caps of Bic biros threaded onto ribbons for a jacket and the bicycle reflector lights smashed and reassembled into mosaics for the bodice of a dress.
Old furs are given a new lease of life by shaving them into zebra stripes.
Vintage polka dot frocks, whether in silk or cotton, polyester or viscose, are cut into lozenges and turned into new frocks, keeping original collars and buttons.
Two dozen fans mounted on top of each other form a witty bolero top, but his coats from caterpillar door curtains, with the rail still attached, and vests covered in false eyelashes would take courage to wear.