Jean Paul Gaultier skipped the dockside mise-en-scène of last season's Hermès presentation and concentrated strictly on the clothes. Good move. From the first look (a black crocodile bomber over a ruffle-hemmed pencil skirt) to the last (the same jacket, this time buffed to a high sheen, tossed over one shoulder of a long silk dress), the designer was at his hyper-focused best. Every single superluxe piece exuded the faultless elegance that is the brand's calling card.

He started with ultrasoft leather outerwear—peacoats, swing coats, and tail coats. He worked his way through tweedy brown suits, Fair Isle cardigans, and sweater dresses in warm autumn hues. He riffed on a man's tuxedo. If the knit leggings he showed with many of the looks meant that his clients may have to go elsewhere for their pants, there was no shortage of accessories, from biker caps (some in sheared fur) to over-the-knee boots. Gaultier's amusing takes on the house's signature Kelly bag included soft, foldable suede versions, miniature crocodile styles, and the oversize number he came galloping out with himself.

Rounding out the show were draped gowns in velvet dévoré or chiffon topped by grand, floor-sweeping trenches. The ne plus ultra came in matte forest-green crocodile. A conspicuously ostentatious moment, no doubt, but the designer had more than earned this little indulgence with the smart, rich, classic clothes that came before.