It’s a small world these days. And whether Jean Paul Gaultier was alluding to the global marketplace, Paris’ international melting pot, or simply imagining a world traveler, he worked up a multicultural mélange of a collection that was high on eclectic charm. Gaultier laced his Frenchy signatures, the trenchcoats, pinstriped suits and cone bra bustiers, with a colorful spectrum of far-flung regional references from Uzbekistan to Alaska, according to his invitation. So elaborate Asian-inspired silk jacquards lined trenches, many of which were short in the front and long in back, while Nordic knitwear mingled with tuxedo jackets, but the predominant ethnic flourishes were sprightly folksy details.
There were pleated peasant skirts that flaunted Spanish rose prints and traditional Mexican motifs. They were worn layered under suitings or mixed with Mongolian furs and silk robes, all the while styled to festive extreme with outlandish head and footgear (lamé turbans and elfin geisha shoes). It made one appreciate Gaultier’s willingness to go out on a limb, even if he is seemingly oblivious to current trends. But deconstruct the quirky combinations, and there were knit hoodies, long and short, and sweatpants that had a nomadic streetwear sensibility that will work in wardrobes round the world.