Today was Jean Paul Gaultier’s first time on the runway since shuttering his prêt-à-porter business with a shower of gold confetti last September. It was a new beginning of sorts, and to celebrate he chose weddings as his theme. Most couture shows have a single betrothed; JPG had a couple dozen of them. He dubbed the collection 61 Façons de Se Dire Oui, or 61 Ways to Say Yes. The bride wore a lace bomber and tulle ball skirt, the bride wore shorts, and the bride wore blue jeans. Naomi Campbell closed the show wrapped in cellophane and live orchids and not much else; she was a bridal bouquet.
In the detailed show notes, each look got a clever name of its own. To Bi or Not to Bi, a little black number tailored like a man’s suit on one side and draped like a dress on the other, was classic Gaultier. There were first-rate examples of his masculine-feminine hybrids from beginning to end, and they were the strongest elements of a show that also included python—both the real thing and an intricate burnished paillette facsimile—as well as a passage of evening numbers that exposed the satin boning of corsets and crinoline cages.
The crowd was the rowdiest of couture week—this or any other. They cheered for even the silliest of looks—Lindsey Wixson’s tutu overalls with beekeeper’s hat takes that prize—and tossed the anemones left on each seat at Gaultier’s favorite models from times gone by as they came down the elevated runway in their alterna-bride attire. Clothing-wise, we’ve seen much of this before, but Gaultier’s shows are one of the last places in fashion where we’re encouraged to have fun. For the time being, that’s enough to keep everyone coming back.