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Vintage Gaultier Goes Greek

By Timothy Hagy, Paris Editor

PARIS, January 25- If the Paris couture season had browned out as a result of low star wattage, Jean Paul Gaultier turned up the juice on Wednesday. Moments before his show began, a micro-thin-dark-sunglassed Madonna, surrounded by a huge flotilla of security guards, made her way from backstage. A feeding frenzy ensued as paparazzi took aim at the American singer, as well as French actress Catherine Deneuve.

Madonna’s homecoming was in many ways a celebration of Gaultier’s career, since it was she who catapulted the designer’s name to fame by first wearing his clothes some twenty years ago.

“It was a moment of great emotion,” Gaultier said backstage after the show.

Smoke machines poured out vapor, and votive candles flickered in hanging lanterns, as the couturier turned to traditional Greek costumes for inspiration for this collection. The pieces that soon passed along the snaking catwalk were vintage Gaultier - sensuous and simmering with a sexual undercurrent.

Intricately tailored jackets and trenches were juxtaposed with jewel-encrusted tights, a boudoir corset-top peeking from beneath. Other enticements were hard to miss: a waft of chiffon falling over the shoulder, a lacy negligé veiled in transparent tulle, a bell skirt frothing in layers of chiffon. If that wasn’t smoldering enough, try jet beads falling from the breasts and cascading down a dress confected of slashed straps, or the wedding dress - midriff cut out and strung with beads, a transparent veil thrown above snow-white panties.

While the wearability of many of the pieces might be a matter for debate, from an artistic standpoint, the tour de force of eroticism left little to the imagination.

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