Ever since I first saw Miuccia Prada's all-out homage to Josephine Baker shimmy onto the catwalk over in Milan last September - all finger-waved hair, cocktail-frocks and speakeasy-style Jazz shoes in the colours of a twenties lithograph - I've been hankering after a good old-fashioned bit of Parisian showgirl razzmatazz. Last night, I got my fill - Le Crazy Horse have pitched up in London, bringing a particularly Parisian brand of érotisme to the stage of Notting Hill's Supperclub. But this was cabaret with a difference: rather than the tired, trite Moulin Rouge clichés of frilly knickers and hammy can-cannery, Le Crazy Horse gives an avant-garde spin to the traditions of this fine French art-form.
True, the Crazy Horse girls are naked, but they are more often than not 'dressed' in projections that engulf the entire stage. At other times, they've been dressed in the more conventional sense by some of the finest couturiers in Paris - Emanuel Ungaro, Azzedine Alaïa and Jean Paul Gaultier, no less. The latter sent out Crazy Horse dancer Psykko Tico high-kicking in a tufted tulle frock to close his Parisenne Punk haute couture show back in January, while the hand of another Frenchman, Christian Louboutin, crafts six pairs of towering scarlet-soled stillies for every one of the show's dancers.
Although the Louboutins got a full work-out, the Gaultier couture wasn't much in evidence last night. The most the dancers wore were smatterings of beads, or the re-tooled Queen's Guards ensembles that opened the show, but revealed more flesh than they concealed (the routine isn't called 'God Save Our Bare Skins' for nothing). If it sounds a little old-fashioned - the sort of thing a few sleazy City Boys may like to indulge in before seeking rather fruitier delights in the capital's seedier nightspots - think again. This was a polished, poised and utterly mesmerising show that unfolded to an enthralled standing-room-only audience including designers Todd Lynn and Philip Treacy, models Alice Dellal and Jacquetta Wheeler, and none less a British institution than Ronnie Wood. A welcome dose of high-octane high-camp Parisian frivolity in London town. Jean Paul Gaultier probably said it best: 'I'm Crazy about Le Crazy!'
Le Crazy Horse Paris is at the London Supper Club from May 25 2011. For tickets see www.suppergoescrazy.com