You've got to love any fashion show where the models are muscled hunks and their "outfits" consist of the tiniest of towels.
Set in a Moroccan steam bath, Jean Paul Gaultier's spring-summer 2011 menswear collection in Paris opened with the Chippendale-sized models lounging in a mock hammam, dousing each other with water and giving one another deep-tissue back massages.
It was a lascivious start to a show that faintly dripped with retro sensuality.
Kaftans with Gaultier's signature transparent panelling were paired with harem pants, while kinky, lace-front tunics were worn with minuscule Speedos in X-rated, see-through tulle that got downgraded to R thanks to strategically placed opaque patches.
Gaultier said the collection was inspired by the late, great French couturier Yves Saint Laurent, who lived in Marrakech and adopted traditional Moroccan dress into his androgynous style.
"It was a mix between Saint Laurent's elegance, the way he dressed in the 1970s, the Moroccan influence and the psychedelic spirit of that period," the genial French designer told reporters after the show.
Special 3-D glasses were needed to fully appreciate the wacky prints on the silk robes and pyjama pants that closed the show, and the audience of fashion insiders donned the least-chic-possible accessory - paper glasses with one blue eye and one red eye that were the show invitations - to take in the fluttering garments in all their vaguely three-dimensional glory.
"It's like being on mushrooms, or something," said Gaultier, adding with a wink: "Not that I've ever done that."
Despite its languid, steam-clouded start, the show ended with a theatrical bang, with the bathing-suit clad models soaking one another - and Gaultier - ahead of their final lap down the runway.One model, appropriately playing the part of the hammam's traditional water bearer, took a spill on the slick catwalk.
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