Fall Couture 2012

Jean Paul Gaultier

Front Row at Jean Paul Gaultier

Bette Midler

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  • Bette Midler

Front Row at Jean Paul Gaultier

Bette Midler and Valérie Lemercier attended the show, which started 70 minutes late.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: They say that movie sets are 90 percent waiting and 10 percent actual filming. That’s certainly how it felt at the Jean Paul Gaultier couture show on Wednesday, which doubled as the backdrop for the latest comedy starring Valérie Lemercier — France’s answer to Tina Fey.

As the actress sat in character in the front row, flanked by costar Marina Foïs, a voice announced the show would start in 20 minutes — but by that time, it was already almost an hour past the scheduled start. (Gaultier officials insist it was a snafu in the atelier that delayed embroideries, not the movie making, that held up the show.)

Lemercier said the crew had been on site since 8 a.m. shooting scenes. She plays the editor in chief of French Elle, and demonstrated that she has mastered the cattiness that comes with the territory. “We have created a version of Elle that is even more beautiful than the real one, I believe — not that that’s hard,” she said, keeping a straight face.

Foïs, who plays her assistant, said the two characters had a fraught relationship. “On the surface, they appear to have nothing in common, but it turns out they share something very intimate,” she hedged. “You can say it,” Lemercier shot back. “In fact, she is also my husband’s mistress.”

Entering the sweltering space, Bette Midler walked straight into a wind tunnel produced by a large industrial tube located in one of the walls. “Oh my gosh — very funny,” she said after taking her seat. Midler, accompanied by her daughter Sophie, said she was “on hiatus” and enjoying a family vacation. “We’re all here because we like Paris in the summer. In July, it’s always very nice,” she said.

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