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Gaultier bids au revoir to couture runway

By AAP Newswire

On the final day of Paris Fashion Week Jean Paul Gaultier bid au revoir to the Paris couture runway with a fashion show and surprise guest singer Boy George.

In a tweet, the 67-year-old Gaultier said that the Wednesday night couture show "celebrating 50 years of my career will also be my last".

"But rest assured, haute couture will continue with a new concept," without elaborating how.

The designer ended his ready-to-wear collections in 2014.

Hanging up his couture pin cushion - and with it effectively his catwalk career - is a big moment for the industry, but also a logical step for the onetime enfant terrible of French fashion, who had acknowledged his disillusionment with the frenetic pace of the modern fashion industry.

Former French First Lady and ex-supermodel Carla Bruni joined hundreds of veteran Gaultier aficionados, who pushed and shoved in the iconic Chatelet Theater, for the final-curtain-call couture collection of Paris' inimitable fashion artiste.

For the relatively small Paris couture industry, having last year lost a towering figure in Karl Lagerfeld, the decision for Gaultier to quit, one more lost voice, has marked it deeply.

The ever-humorous Gaultier began his final spectacle with a funeral scene - as six male models carried a black coffin onto the runway. He ended it, after 90 minutes of new creations, jumping and laughing on stage as everyone danced to Boy George's singing his hit Church of the Poison Mind.

The energetic collection was a greatest hits of his couture. Figures from the Gaultier's past, including models from the 1980s, as well as it-models such as Bella Hadid and Karlie Kloss, walked the runway.

The mood felt more like rock concert than couture show with screams from the audience.

After founding his eponymous label in 1982, Gaultier shocked the fashion industry by introducing man-skirts and kilts to menswear. He became known as a designer who fused gender identity and empowered women.

Looking back through decades of his creations some years ago, Gaultier told The Associated Press that it was a bustier that first made him a household name in the United States - specifically the one Madonna wore on her Blond Ambition tour in 1990.