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The true genius of Jean Paul Gautier is his consummate ability to combine strong creative juices with commercial common sense. And on Friday, he livened up the Paris Ready-to-Wear shows with an innovative collection that moved fashion as an art form several steps further down the road. It will also doubtlessly move from the boutique shelves once it hits next January.

Following on the heels of his revolutionary couture show last July, one that introduced skintight bodysuits that have already been widely copied, today's subject matter turned to lacy leather corsets, garters, and waist wraps that conjured up any number of boudoir fantasies.

Try a shredded show-white petticoat worn atop jeans and bound with a beige laced corset, or a pleated leather skirt fitted over a chiffon jacket

  with laces dangling, or even overalls that morphed into red and black skirts and you start to see just how far fashion has evolved.

Pastel rose, mint green, creamy mocha and bittersweet chocolate, the colors glazed the runway in a palette of delight, as models, wearing cowboy boots beneath their suede and fringe, tread to the sound of sultry harmonica melodies.

For evening, masculine tux jackets were varnished with shimmering sequins, and shredded chiffon dresses were splashed with red polka dots.

But the real tour de force was the finale of bodysuits, woven of leather lace and hugging the female silhouette almost as a wrap of spider webs.

  Backstage the champagne was flowing in a festive party atmosphere. Surrounded by cameras and microphones, a genial Jean Paul explained to Fashionlines "Yes. I like leather, but I love everything." He then continued, "the collection was much like couture in that it took days, no wait, weeks, to sew all of it together."

Turning to Carine Roitfeld, Editor-and-Chief of French Vogue, he continued "I'm taking a day off tomorrow, then we'll start all over again after."

There is no rest for the weary, especially as Gaultier's next project will be to resurrect the struggling Hermès label when he takes over artistic design of the women's Ready-to-Wear line.

One of the brightest talents on the Paris scene today, Jean Paul Gaultier occupies the podium that may well direct the future of fashion.