07/04/2012 01:13 EDT | Updated 09/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Jean Paul Gaultier couture goes to silver screen

PARIS - Fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier loves film. For proof, look no further than his dandyesque fall-winter 2012 haute couture offering, which paid homage to the silver screen.

The 60-year-old's still evidently enthusiastic after a stint as a Cannes Film Festival jury member this year.

The show took for its muse an unlikely matinee idol: the singer Pete Doherty, who made his acting debut as a 19th-century figure in a film that was screened at the Riviera.

The movie, "Confession of a Child of the Century," bowled Gaultier over. "I said my god he is so seductive, a decadent dandy," said the designer backstage. "And that's my collection."

The result, after a ready-to-wear show that received lukewarm reviews, was an androgynous and theatrical couture delight.

Nineteenth century top hats accompanied high taffeta collars, deconstructed texture-rich satin crepe waistcoats and a lot of black.

The black was broken up with explosions colour and bright fox fur, which provoked whoops of delight from the crowd.

"I'm here because it's lively and provocative," said movie star Bette Midler from the front row.

Gaultier threw in other cinema references for good measure.

"The original idea I thought of doing Fritz Lang's Metropolis," he said.

As if straight out of that 1927 science-fiction film was a grey metallic looking cape with golden lining. He had clearly done his cinema homework.

The shoulderless jumpsuit which completed the ensemble had the broken sheen of scrubbed metal, like the film's robot Mechanical Maria.

Art deco prints and the odd robotic conical bra then only added to the graphic feel.

The piece de resistance: came in the form of a science-fiction corset cage — like a mechanized hourglass.

With the show starting over an hour late, luckily Gaultier omitted any other references to time.


Thomas Adamson can be followed at