Having fun with a pun sometimes leads Jean Paul Gaultier to supreme elegance—other times to mayhem. This season, he got carried away with the idea of Alexander Calder's mobile sculptures, a concept he worked into a frenzy of visual quips about strings and suspension.

Opening with a tableau of circus acrobats twirling in the air on rings, swings and ropes of cloth, Gaultier followed up with a kind of anarchic rock-star parade, riffing on his chosen theme. There were overalls with the bib hanging down from one strap, swimsuits in abstract shapes held together with strings, and—every woman's worst nightmare—pants and tights falling down to reveal underwear. Throw in some touches of Victoriana, a couple of Indian saris and a few men's shirts and jackets tied on backward, and the joke gets strung out too long.

Calder, on the other hand, had nothing to do with the designer's best pieces. Hang a medal on Gaultier for the belt-size pleated miniskirts worn over super-skinny pants and, most of all, for the East-meets-West kimono-sleeve silky sport jackets with embroidery on the back.