Jean Paul Gaultier Menswear Spring/Summer 2013: Narrating Passages to India
BY JOÃO PAULO NUNES
Photographs © Rainer Torrado, courtesy of Jean Paul Gaultier
For his Spring/Summer 2013 menswear collection, Gaultier sought inspiration yet again in sailor tailoring and imagery (as often witnessed in previous collections, namely his trademark buttoned panel sailor’s trousers, Breton tops in horizontal blue and white stripes, and cape-back tops) but added an exotic dimension by picturing his garments worn by sailors in the far-flung shores of India. As such, his customary designs were contrasted against a range of bold colours, patterns and designs inspired by Indian landscape, social history and religion (such as shades of red and yellow, layered fabrics and pleated harem pants), and were mixed with elements that evoked travel story-telling, as manifest in clothes richly printed with sailing and fishing motifs or meticulously encrusted with minute beading on dark fabrics as a way to represent starry nights in warm climates. At the same time, the seafaring passage of time and space could be glimpsed in patterns inspired by the rhythmic movements of waves in the ocean such as textured striped seersucker fabrics, pinstripes that discretely vanished and faded into plain colours on wool jackets, trousers or overalls, or stripes that changed directions to create dynamic patterns in cotton tops. In addition, waxed linen was used in some outerwear pieces to evoke water and sea travel, and the rough masculine world of maritime existence as symbolised by sailors’ tattoos could be discerned in delicate and feminine rich embroidery and lace. Despite the very successful incorporation of Indian imagery into his Spring/Summer 2013 menswear collection, it was in the mastering of details that Gaultier struck sartorial gold again. This was evident in astonishing features or broader design choices, such as the careful and playful positioning of buttons, the subtle deconstruction of traditional tailoring by introducing layering and asymmetrical cuts, the adoption of bright summery colour (a rare vision during the latest Paris Men’s Fashion Week), and the stunning pleating (with contrasting colour stitching) that created a kilt-like effect by adding a removable back skirt to shorts or to the wondrous raincoats.
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