Jean Paul Gaultier's shows are always a bit of a romp around a theme, as serious clothes hold together a string of Parisian one-liners. This season it was literally playtime on the runwaya glass structure supported by an army of dolls. To set the scene, Natalia Vodianova, fashion's favorite child-woman, toddled out wearing a smocked Norwegian sweater with a pair of infantile black frilly panties over woolly tights.
But be not afraid. Gaultier toyed with the baby-doll look, turning it into tiny puff-sleeved swing-back jackets and an aviator-style shearling, as well as romper suits (one, very scarily, in leather), but he didn't let the kid stuff distract from the great pieces that ground his work. A lot of those were furs, like the big knitted sweatshirt pulled over a cheerleader skirt and the striped jersey with a swathed neck and wide sleeves that followed from his couture collection.
He went a bit askew with some of the dippy Rick Owens-esque raw-edged leather and hefty handkerchief-point skirts, guaranteed to make any girl look a mile wide. But when he focused on reinventing the masculine/feminine tailoring and streetwear he's been playing with since the 80s, the collection (in this revivalist moment) took off. His olive ski jacket, lashed tight with webbing straps and clips, is a fall classic. And that's no kidding.