Forty-eight hours after Marion Cotillard wore a mermaid gown from his aquatic-themed January couture show for her Academy Awards victory lapand, arguably, won the high-fashion red-carpet stakesJean Paul Gaultier was again plumbing Mother Nature for ideas. This time it wasn't the deep where he found inspiration but you could say he went off the deep end, working furs and exotic skins every which way imaginable.
A faux tiger skin adorned the back of the first parka out, and a tiger print decorated a trademark trench. The latter had a poufy collar in the shape of a stole complete with four little feet, while a matte crocodile jacket came with tails made from the animal's actual tail. As for accessories, silk scarves edged in raw leather were pinned to the models' manes; other girls wore pelts on their heads, and two willing participants shaved a fish-scale pattern onto the backs of theirs. And how's this for the ultimate extravagance? A messenger bag and its straps made from black fox.
All of this played out as Michael Jackson's "Thriller" mingled on the loudspeakers along with the sound of lambs baaing. Going to the slaughter? Really, it was just too much. Thankfully, interspersed among the outerwear were some pretty pieces, notably the delicate lace dresses and the black- or white-knit separates studded with matching pearls. Gaultier's boundless enthusiasm is what makes his shows such a pleasure to watch, but this time it was overkill.