first looks

Turbans, Andrej Pejic, Karlie Kloss, and Crotch Patches at Jean Paul Gaultier

Karlie Kloss at Jean Paul Gaultier's fall 2012 haute couture show.
Karlie Kloss at Jean Paul Gaultier’s fall 2012 haute couture show. Photo: Chris Moore/Catwalking/Getty Images

Jean Paul Gaultier’s signature theatricality was a refreshing counterpoint to the pared-down “modernity” of Raf Simons’s Dior debut this Couture Week. Although Gaultier’s designs can sometimes err on the wackier side, this season’s couture collection was lush and striking — with swirling gold silk; majestic, fur-trimmed velvet; and neon-yellow beading — in all the ways that couture should be. While Simons’s garments were hailed by WWD for their “glorious reality,” Gaultier’s were pure fantasy: He sent Lindsey Wixson down the runway in a completely sheer black robe, her nipples and crotch covered only by patches of black floral embroidery, and Karlie Kloss swooped out in a rich gold cloak.

Photo: Karl Prouse/Catwalking/Getty Images

Critics of Simons’s couture show (well, those on Twitter — no editors have breathed a word of disappointment in print) say that the clothes weren’t distinguishable from ready-to-wear, at least not in photographs. Gaultier’s clothes, by contrast, are all unquestionably one-of-a-kind, even when viewed on a computer screen. While these clothes aren’t very wearable (it’s hard to imagine many women pulling off Andrej Pejic’s half-sheer jumpsuit on a red carpet — not that we’d discourage anyone from trying!), they’re a joy to look at.

Pejic, Kloss, and Crotch Patches at Gaultier