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A Grand Palais Party for the Opening of Jean Paul Gaultier’s Paris Exhibition

“Bienvenue et bon voyage!” cried Jean Paul Gaultier, who donned tails, sailor stripes, and a pompadour (courtesy of Odile Gilbert) to greet the throngs at his exhibition’s opening last night. Among the early arrivals were former French culture minister Jack Lang, Stephen Jones, and Inès de la Fressange, who discovered her own likeness front-row at a runway show in the second gallery. (She was in good company—Grace Coddington, Franca Sozzani, Emmanuelle Alt, Suzy Menkes, Carine Roitfeld, Babeth Djian, and Catherine Deneuve were also represented.)

“This is anything but a retrospective,” offered De la Fressange, who recalled working with Gaultier at a brand called Micmac, back in the days when they were both complete unknowns. “This is he work of a flamboyant genius who’s very much alive and well. It’s know-how mixed with imagination, enveloped in humor—and there’s nothing contradictory about it. Elegance should be anything but square. Hopefully it will inspire lots of young people to get into fashion—but not the minimalist kind, the époustouflant kind.” Époustouflant, for those who need a translation, means mind-blowing.

“Such an imagination,” offered Christian Louboutin. “I’m so pleased that the most beautiful of his shows is taking place in Paris.” Meanwhile, at the opposite corner of the Grand Palais, the VIP roster for the after-party swelled with names like Kylie Minogue, Rossy de Palma, Haider Ackermann, and Simon Porte Jacquemus. By the time Gaultier arrived, Deneuve in tow, they had to sneak in through the kitchen, where they decided to stay for a quick bite before taking a hidden staircase to see a special concert by Christine and the Queens. (The group’s lead, née Héloïse Letissier, was the star of last month’s Victoires de la Musique awards.) “She’s an amazing performer,” enthused star dance and fashion muse Marie-Agnès Gillot. “She’s a real inspiration for me.” Speaking of inspiration, the exhibition reveals that JPG’s first cone bra dates all the way back to 1977. Thirty-eight years. Mon dieu.
—Tina Isaac-Goizé,

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