Jean Paul Gaultier's 2015 fall collection was a sea filled with circle-shaped gowns and maquillaged-faced clowns, not the usual type of show I write about, but I took nostalgic relish in the fact that a Gaultier classic was spotlighted: the reputable Breton stripe. The stripe, in navy, black, and gold, is not an exclusive pattern, in fact, it's far from it, representing sailors and seafaring in general. In this collection, the stripe not only represents the nautical, but it is a symbol of Gaultier himself. Gaultier repurposed the Breton stripe, and adopted it as his own signature. The cone-bra was another of Gaultier's prominent trademarks, but, fortunately, it didn't make an appearance in this collection. The man knows when enough is enough, even if enough is its sheer existence.
Gaultier's archetypal pattern played an important role in this collection, but it was by no means the star. Through years of experience, Jean Paul Gaultier has mastered the sleek, angular look, and has now moved on to possibly the most ignored shape in fashion: the circle. The circle is a shape avoided by generally everyone, especially in fashion where calling someone round is the equivalent of calling someone useless. But Jean Paul Gaultier tackled this shunned shape through creativity and expertise. He contrasted the shape with downward-pointing triangles, to accentuate the waist, and played up the natural gravity of the circle that resulted in an artful drapery effect. This collection was more avant-garde than wearable (it is couture, after all), unless, of course, your daily wardrobe consists of fur robes, herringbone-spiderweb turtlenecks, circle skirts of all different mediums (crinkle, engraved, embroidered, and woven), and other clothes normally reserved for the most special of occasions.
The show began with a distinct nautical theme, credited to the liberal use of the sailor stripe and the popular model-topping of the sailor cap. These features can also be interpreted as distinctly French, another of Gaultier's double references. The show then took a more embellished turn away from the sea and towards somewhere more abstract. The clothes exhibited immense thoughtfulness through an overturned lapel here, or a mismatched stocking there. It's the little details that made up this collection. In the midst of fresh, young designers, this is a show of what time and training can create; collections like these are a lifelong process.