Reprising the format of last year's presentation, Jean-Paul Gaultier showed his menswear in the sanctum of his Parisian headquarters, sans runway and with the clothes doing most of the talking without any living model to distract. In the middle, furniture had been jumbled under white cloth to create cushy rocks. Of course, on the far wall, there was the obligatory season video, a sultry exploration of the mood which featured the same two models on hand today, cast in a slightly louche environment rife with the prospect of naughty things.
The advantage of a showroom setting is that guests could be left to write their own stories, guided gently by the racks arranged by theme, and the occasional suggestion projected on a photocall-like wall. Some were even tempted to try pieces on.
And this relaxed feel allowed Gaultier to do the splits between the themes without leaving anyone discombobulated, in a collection titled Memphis. Two major themes dominated the seasons, united by the 90s flavor that Gaultier imparted through proportions and shapes (like the then-ubiquitous bomber jacket): the Dripping Daisies, melting off the arms of a jacket; the Egyptian, hieroglyphic adornments scrolling on prints, happily colored on scarves or studded down a white shirt.
And if you were in the mood to truly roll like a pharaoh, the kilt, a mainstay of the Gaultier man, was here a chicer loincloth, knotted at the waist, open on the front. The lineup included the de rigeur Breton stripe scrolled throughout, fading in and out - no doubt best sellers to come along with the Pierre & Gilles portrait print - giving a sense of unity to the whole collection, and cementing the self-referential mood, right down to the corset trousers. A bit less marketable were the studded clogs or the aprons, but an outlier or two dozen is always par for the course at JPG, to much editorial delight.