The soaring salon in Jean Paul Gaultier's HQ usually features an elevated runway down its center. For his menswear presentation, editors entered this same central space—only this time, it was hedged in by light-boxes projecting larger-than-life portraits of the clothes. It was the first of many inverses and optical tricks that went into this appealingly mishmash collection. With Gaultier, of course, nothing is ever as it appears. Witness the pinstriped viscose "suit" that was actually more like pajamas. Or this season's marinière, which was really a fishnet T-shirt woven with strips of ribbon in alternating blue, gray, and white. Other suiting was perfectly constructed so that all the inside tailoring appeared on the outside—felted lapel, waist lining, visible stitching, et al.
There were four unrelated print stories: an abstracted, digitized toile de Jouy; a pattern of fauvist flowers; distressed tiles; and a geometric foulard motif. Mixing and matching is not advised. A Gaultier wardrobe offers all sorts of supplementary items that most men don't routinely wear (chaps, sashes, and a skort with a panel hinged from one side so that it can cover either front or back). The lineup also included a "rustic chic" grouping featuring tactile macraméd knits and a sturdy canvas jacket, all in beige or black.
In a short video of the collection projected on the back wall, director Jessica Yatrofsky captured three hunks on Gaultier's rooftop, running toward the camera and then, in post-production, running backward. They dress and undress. Watching them put on jackets deliberately designed to be inside out is every bit counterintuitive. But for Gaultier, wrong is usually right.