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Photo: Alessandro Lucioni

In the past year, there's been a right old furor about racism in fashion, but one designer who has always been color-blind (and gender- and faith- and age-blind) is Jean Paul Gaultier, the industry's great humanist. In the week of an epochal presidential inauguration, he chose to take on the issue of black and white with a full-on celebration of black power. Gaultier referenced both politics (the Afros and militant stance of Angela Davis and Stokely Carmichael in the sixties) and pop (the sound and style of the Specials and the 2 Tone movement in the late seventies). The Clash were on the soundtrack, as a reminder that punk in England then was as free of prejudice as Gaultier is now.

That was all the encouragement he needed to drag out the bondage straps that were punk's style signature. The way that traditional suitings were all strapped up was a testament to Gaultier's masterful cutting. But razor-sharp shadow plaids, pinstripes, and camel whisked us across the Atlantic, from Ladbroke Grove to 110th Street. The designer took his bow in an Afro wig with a bridal bouquet, which I took to signify the union of cultures. There were also tiny children in the show, in tiny trenches and tiny tuxes. Cute, but also kind of joyous.— Tim Blanks www.menstyle.com