The fairy-tale prince is every little girl's dream, but what if he's a she? Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty would've freaked out had she been awoken by a cross-dressed Prince Charming, but in other literature (e.g., Shakespeare), not to mention pantomime and Jean Paul Gaultier's own well-known "gender-bending" repertoire, it's an age-old trope without much naughtiness implied. So there was nothing to stir up offenseor guffaws of laughterwhen Gaultier sent out a collection that was entirely based on various manifestations of princely attire, from Ruritanian ceremonial wear to military and sporting gear, with a special section devoted to the splendor of the maharajas of India.
It involved sashes, exaggerated fringed epaulets, frogging, military embroidery, and crownssome of them apparently constructed of the models' hair. There were also glimpses of Gaultier's set pieces, including a draped, sashed jersey dress, a gray tailleur, and an embroidered trench, but mostly the focus was on what elaborations can be teased out of a jacket, tight pants, and knee boots. The riding theme is one Gaultier has mined many times (most recently at Hermès), but his exquisitely fitted hunting jacket and midnight-blue velvet redingote embroidered with silver metal threaddespite their familiaritystill managed to command attention. In the mix, the Indian princes in their bejeweled turbans and trompe l'oeil beaded zebra tunics and jodhpurs emerged most sumptuouslyespecially when a feeling for rich sixties hippie finery is on the rise trendwise. For the final role reversal, Gaultier even cast a maharaja as the "bride"but surprise, surprise, he actually turned out to be a man.