Walking into Jean Paul Gaultier, you were greeted by the sounds of Champagne bottles popping and the sight of a photo set, with scaffolding set up beyond that with the clothes arranged upon it. After you'd knocked back a glass—or three; the shows all started late today—the girls took their places behind the outfits and started getting into their first looks. We were at a couture show like they used to do in the fifties. No music, just narration in French and English, and models carrying cards with their look numbers.

Those details tested the patience of an overheated, fashion-weary crowd who were otherwise inclined to like the collection. As someone said, "It's too bad about that nattering on; the clothes are good." They were signature Gaultier: trenches done a million ways, and pinstripe suiting worn with crisp, asymmetrical white shirts on the one hand; and on the other, lingerie details and tattoo-print body stockings. The tattoo motif carried over into evening pieces with silk cord embroidered onto the nude tulle bodices of draped gowns, or down the arm of one-sleeved cocktail dresses. For the finale, Gaultier sent out the models in their lingerie underpinnings. Somehow, we don't think that happened in the fifties.