It is always, it seems, the simplest gestures from Jean-Paul Gaultier, that make the biggest impact. That was assuredly the takeaway message from his delightfully, yet somewhat consternating and overwrought 2015 Fall Haute Couture collection. With it's influence coming from the northern shores of Brittany, France, which has always held a place of reverence with the designer considering one of his most recognizable signatures is the Marinière Breton of Marine (Navy) Blue and White. That particular Breton stripe was splayed all over this collection, from the opening look with it's striped stockings, to the a cropped top with a ruffled skirt shape that was soon to be seen as a plumb line through the entire show.
That flattened circular shaped skirt was derived from the crêpe stands that dot the Brittany landscape and while amusing for a few exits, began to grow wearisome after a while. It added an unneeded and somewhat costume-like pall over the show, which in places showcased marvellously Gaultier's extraordinary gifts and facility of cut and execution. Take, per se, the sleek lines of a Blazer in Black Wool that was cut like a peacoat but slenderized into something much more formal, with it's military-ish gold embroidery on the sleeves, it had the allure of an Officer's jacket but so far more elevated it was not even funny. Or, take for example, humble inky Black Corduroy cut into a phenomenal pantsuit studded with Jet crystal "Pinstripes" that was a concoction which would have made YSL himself Swoon! Of course, there were sillier moments, it wouldn't be Gaultier if there was not these moments of camp and hilarity, the offence here was that those funny, offbeat moments, threatened to overtake the collection and mar it's brilliance. Gaultier walked a fine line that, too often, he stumbled over onto the wrong side of, and those missteps catapulted this collection into the gimmicky.
When Jean-Paul is Good... He's OH SO VERY good, witness Ysaunny Brito in a Charcoal Pantsuit at Exit No. 45 and weep. The luscious simplicity and perfection of cut is nigh orgasmic. But counterpoint that with say... Exit No. 29 and you'll see where this collection went off the rails. Gaultier always marches to the beat of his own band, and in most instances, that unique singularity of vision yields marvels of fashion, This time though, somewhere along the way, Gaultier lost count of the beat, and the incongruity of such, almost led this collection almost to abject failure.