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FASHION NEWS
  
Gaultier offers men perfect clothes, skin for summer
Dominique Ageorges | June 27, 2003
Gaultier collection spring-summer 2004 (Photo: AFP)
With skin-tight waistcoats and a color palette based on skin tone, Jean-Paul Gaultier on Friday unveiled a menswear collection for next summer that expertly complemented the launch of his men's cosmetics line.

From masculine vests over chiseled chests to waiters' aprons, from open track suits to a slim dandy on heels, the bad boy French designer explored his multi-faceted vision of men, ranging from macho stud to effeminate pretty boy.

Colors adapted to complexion, with dark-skinned models sporting ensembles in shades of bronze and chestnut while paler faces were paired with whites and pastels. An array of thong sandals and hiking boots finished each look.

The use of detailing caught the eye -- flaps multipled on fitted waistcoats, overalls fell undone, and in a nod to Gaultier's last haute couture collection, pearly buttons adorned trousers and vests for late-night jet-setting.

With "smooth out your prejudices" as his slogan and French rocker Johnny Hallyday's "Quoi ma gueule" (what about my face) blaring over the catwalk sound system, Gaultier launched his first line of cosmetics and skin care products for men.

Eight years after creating the cologne "Le Male", which quickly became one of the best-selling fragrances for men in Europe, the French house has done it again -- with style, naturally.

Named "tout beau, tout propre," (all beautiful and clean), the line is high-end: no outrageous make-up, just products to "improve the usual."

"It's a logical step forward in my work. Once I saw men start to dye their hair or shave their heads, I understood that we could go further without it necessarily being associated with the gay culture," Gaultier explained.

"Lots of men are now making an effort to look different, to show themselves in a new light," he added, aware of the fact that launching a skin care line would have been unthinkable 10 years ago.

Gaultier has thought of all the tools the modern man could ever need -- a shaving brush to apply a bronzing powder, lip balms in discreet shades or a lighter dispensing a flashy bit of sparkle, all in sleek black packaging.

One pencil, which to any self-respecting office worker looks like a day-glo highlighter, provides two options: eyeliner on one side, cover-up to mask dark under-eye circles caused by a late night of partying on the other.

So who will have the first opportunity to improve their complexions and brighten their days with the new Gaultier products?

The house is initially targeting beauty-conscious men in Britain, France and the United States.

Paris menswear week, showcasing collections for spring-summer 2004, continues through July 1.

- Sapa-AFP