Bette Midler Attends Gaultier As An “Admirer” And A “Customer”

Los Angeles Times
Bette Midler and her daughter Sophie were front and center among viewers of the Gaultier show
July 6, 2012

Jean Paul Gaultier Presents Top Hats, Turbans and Riding Clothes to an Admiring Audience, Including Bette Midler, Ines de la Fressange, Zahia Dehar and Others

Bette Midler said she came to the Jean Paul Gaultier haute couture show, both as an admirer of the designer and a customer of the house.

The July 4 show marked Midler’s first Gaultier show in Paris. For her daughter Sophie, along for the ride, the day seemed to be shaping up to be a fun experience.

“I really enjoy going to fashion shows with my mother,” she said.

Offering her reasons for coming to the Gaultier show, the entertainer ”“ aka the “Divine Miss M” ”“ said, “If you love someone, you want to support them. You want them to thrive.”

Seated in a front row between Sophie and noted fashion journalist Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune, Midler was deluged by still photographers, TV cameras and microphones, as she and the other VIPs awaited the fall/winter 2012/2013 presentation. And, although fashion shows typically begin late, the wait for this one was long indeed.

About an hour after the invitation’s stated time, a voice announced to an increasingly impatient crowd that the show would be delayed by 20 minutes.

So, seeing that the previously inpenetrable mob of photographers had cleared from around Midler, I considered returning to chat. About two years ago, we met at the marvelous L.A. Art House in Beverly Hills, which showcased young artists, but sadly no longer exists.

“We have ten minutes left,” she said when I returned.

After talking about her admiration of Gaultier and the now-vanished art gallery, the conversation turned to New York, which although already a remarkable city for visitors and residents, seems to be getting even better. Mayor Bloomberg, Midler said, has launched Million Trees NYC, a program, in which she is participating, to plant one million new trees throughout the city.

Having great admiration for celebrities who use their time, efforts and spotlight on themselves to help the world, I also enjoyed hearing about the related program Midler founded, the New York Restoration Project, which is creating a greener environment for the open spaces in NY’s underserved communities.

At long last, a show well-worth the wait began, themed for the film, “Confessions of a Child of the Century,” featuring top hats, turbans, riding clothes, embellished jumpsuits and long, swinging fringes. One model wore a gold-frame of a corset that flared to a tutu-shape; another sported a gown with Gaultier’s signature pointed bra; and others walked the runway in beautifully and heavily beaded frocks.

Also on hand for the show at the Jean Paul Gaultier atelier were model and Roger Vivier muse Ines de la Fressange, fashion designer/former escort Zahia Dehar; stylist Ann Caruso, art curator Stacy Engman and vintage couture retailer Cameron Silver.

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