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Spring 2005
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Glittering Gems

PARIS, March 1, 2005 - They snaked along the peripatetic runway, sparkling like diamonds, garnets and amethysts, models with paillette-plastered tights molded to their legs and torsos wrapped in asymmetrically cut jackets. And the brightness that shone along the catwalk was a metaphoric beacon shining through fashion's dark times, an era when budgets are being slashed, and labels are on the verge of disappearing into the gloom. But Gaultier built his career by bucking trends, and while others see a season of sackcloth and ashes, a perpetual Lent if you will, Gaultier predicts a spring time of celebration just around the corner.

But the real story of Tuesday evening's show was as smoky as the grays that acted as a foundation color. You need look no further than a tightly wrapped black velvet dress worn with a mink cap to see the smoldering eroticism that ran throughout the collection, a sensuality that implies an erogenous life outside the clothes. That is one of the hardest things for any designer to do, and a technique at which Jean Paul Gaultier excels. If that French sense of coquetry and seduction runs up against the religion-on-the-sleeve motif that has quietly crept into fashion since the world turned right, then so be it.

The message was powerful and clear, and the clean linear silhouette was refreshing. Elsewhere, fur stoles flew, a feather skirt cascaded and sweaters fell lusciously from the shoulders.

"Vive la glam!" said Jean Paul after the show, a reference to the sparkling creations that dominated the eveningwear.

British self-described eccentric, Isabella Blow, whose head was sprouting a cockade of white plumes, was overcome with delight. "Those black collars!" she said, raising her hands to cup her cheeks.  "They were absolutely wonderful. Merci, merci."

Thanks to Jean Paul, fashion week began to sparkle.


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