Charlotte Le Bon, a perky weather presenter on French television, provided the running commentary for Jean Paul Gaultier’s show as models dressed in full view of the audience on a two-story scaffold. As a bonus attraction, photographer Miles Aldridge shot the designer’s spring-summer advertising campaign live in a makeshift studio set up midrunway.
Yes, there was a lot to take in at Gaultier’s headquarters on the Rue Saint Martin on Saturday night, from quirky names for the numbered exits (“Excuse my trench” for a deconstructed coat or “My bellybutton has a problem” for a gown with colorful sashes emanating from the navel) to snippets about models’ favorite colors and chicken dish (roasted for Karlie Kloss, if memory serves).
Despite all the distractions, they didn’t upstage one of the French designer’s most legible and effortlessly chic collections.
Gaultier opened the proceedings with his signature tailoring in navy pinstripes or solid black, a handsome foil for terrific white cotton blouses; some with asymmetric openings, others with full sleeves. Their hair done up in victory rolls, the models resembled glamorous Forties screen stars in their strong-shouldered suits and swishing jersey dresses.
Gaultier-isms were rendered with a light hand, including outré tattoo prints that were etched sparingly on a languid, skin-colored leather hoodie, or as a sheer T-shirt flashing through a peephole. Draped jersey was a big statement, mixed with leather on trench coats or swaging from hip to embroidered sleeve on cocktail dresses. So to sum up the Gaultier forecast for spring: Mainly French elegance, with a 100 percent chance of a lingerie finale.