His platinum crop volumized into a big white bouffant, Jean Paul Gaultier did his victory lap on the catwalk with a can of Elnett, which he sprayed liberally into the air. At the very least, his presentation was a salute to the hairdresser's craft. Odile Gilbert, who always does the hair for Gaultier's shows, even appeared onstage for the finale. This time, she had teased, tricked, and exaggerated the models' coifs into spectacular simulacra of the 'do sported by Warren Beatty as L.A. hairdresser/gigolo George in the 1975 movie Shampoo. The bouffant-'n'-burns look was matched to clothes that also might have laced the wardrobe of a West Coast groover in the mid-seventies. You could imagine deep-rust velvets, rich ponyskins, and a kilim-patterned velvet cardigan with a knitted shawl collar warming up a cool night in Laurel Canyon. And the zodiac-sign print was purest California.

Gaultier also obliged with an imaginative make-do for the urban cowboy: The calves of leather pants were embossed with trompe l'oeil boots. But the master of couture gender games had more up his sleeve. Legging-slender trousers (in bronze Lurex, even) and a tracksuit topped with a monkey fur shrug had the campy homme fatal glamour that is Gaultier's special contribution to the lexicon of modern masculinity. He's always understood that ambiguity can be an asset, in the same way that assumptions are a liability. Look at what hairdresser George got away with simply because the husbands of his lovers assumed he must be gay.