Clearly the French are no more immune to the allure of reality stars than the folks in the USA, as evidenced by the commotion caused by model/actress Nabilla Benattia at the Jean Paul Gaultier fall/winter 2013-2014 haute couture show Wednesday.
A star of “The Angels of Reality TV,” Nabilla (think Europe's answer to Kim Kardashian) appeared just before the finale. Striking feline poses, she strode down the runway in a black velvet bustier dress, aptly named “Black Panther,” past Catherine Deneuve, photographer Ellen Von Unwerth and others at the Gaultier atelier in Paris.
Given that the sections had designations, such as “ocelot,” “lynx” and “cougar,” the idea for the season seemed clear even before the show opened with the “Pink Panther” theme. Sure enough, models sported leopard-spotted French twists, and the collection featured cat prints on coats, jackets, tights, cuffs alone or a small accent scarf.
There were elegant wide pants-length pockets, curving contoured jackets, feathers, crystals, flowing gowns, wide belts and the kind of ultra-dramatic pouf of a bridal gown seen only in the haute couture. Yet done with classic Gaultier humor — the fashions all bore fun names, such as “Catwoman,” “Poison Ivy” and “Unchain My Heart.”