January 25, 2006

Madonna mingles with Gaultier’s Greek goddesses

By Anna Willard

PARIS (Reuters) - French designer Jean Paul Gaultier
showered pop icon Madonna with white rose petals on Wednesday
at the end of a spring-summer haute couture collection that was
inspired by Greek mythology and culture.

Models wearing outfits named Poseidon, Athena and Midas
weaved around chairs clustered as Greek islands. Glass lanterns
hung overhead which Gaultier said resembled those of Orthodox
churches. Hairstyles were piled high or fell almost to the

Parthenon was a jacket cut away to look like a column,
embroidered with antique wire over a tight silk skirt. Cyclops
was a long tunic with trousers covered in black organza petals.

"It's a marvelous country with a big culture and I go there
quite often and one day I knew would need to do a Greek
collection," Gaultier said.

After the final wedding dress, a huge ruffle joined onto a
skirt with strings of pearls, Gaultier came running out with
rose petals for his old friend Madonna.

"I'm excited, I'm really in love more with her. I'm very
happy that she came," he said.

Madonna was wearing a black jacket and skirt sat next to
Spain's top flamenco dancer Joaquin Cortes.

French actress Catherine Deneuve was also there.

"It was so beautiful. Such extraordinary colors, classical,
and refined and very structured as well. A superb collection,"
Deneuve told Reuters afterwards.

Gaultier's show was the penultimate one of three days of
haute couture collections in Paris. The outfits are
made-to-measure and cost thousands of dollars, so there are
only estimated to be between 200 and 300 clients in the world.

The dresses can take weeks to make and Gaultier said some
were finished only just in time.

"It was almost a Greek tragedy ... some arrived three
minutes before," he said.

Lebanese designer Elie Saab was the last event on the
official calendar.

His models walked out to the tune of Erotica, a song by
Madonna, in romantic glittery gowns with bows and tulle skirts.
The audience was filled with potential clients from the Middle
East, including many princesses.

The final bride wore a bustier dress with a 3.5-meter tulle
train with latticework embroidery of pearls, silk and organza
flowers and iridescent sequins.