Haute couture is hardly a license to print money, but that didn't stop Jean Paul Gaultier from issuing his own currency for Spring. That's in a manner of speaking, of course. His conceit was to take scrolling, curlicued calligraphy and abstract it into fine-lined prints, fishnets, and embroideries, and marry those with the strong-shouldered, sometimes pinstriped tailoring he introduced in the eighties. On the back screen, an image of a pen-and-ink flourish appeared in motion, going through strange computer-generated distortions. After a while, the penny dropped: It looked like the patterns used on bank notes.

Trust Gaultier to try to make light of contemporary affairs, but as the current situation isn't much of a joke, he wasn't too heavy-handed with the puns. Instead, he brought out his best assets: tailoring, a touch of the matelot, and a reminder of his career-long obsession with corsetry. And as if to underline the point that certain things can look just as good 20-something years later, he had Inès de la Fressange, the eighties runway star, working a couple of smoking dresses for all they were worth. As for the complex squiggly macramé and lace effects and the dress with printed flyaway panels reminiscent of paper money, they looked like so much passing ephemera. It was the inimitable lines and supersharp proportions of the cropped jackets over sexy raised-waist pants that made Gaultier couture look like a solid investment.