Maison Margiela: Galliano still searching for release

Now that’s what we call a fully deconstructed debut. Marking John Galliano’s first full menswear collection for Maison Margiela since he arrived at the house in 2014.

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Maison Margiela - Fall-Winter2018 - Menswear - Paris - © PixelFormula

After a two season hiatus from the runway, the brand returned to the Paris catwalk with what the house’s CEO Riccardo Bellini termed “the first collection created exclusively under the control of John”.  The result was a frequently brilliant display of devilish inside-out cutting, mixed media garments and ragged edged fantasy.
 
In terms of silhouette, the mix of matinee idol languidness in a dazzling elongated blue silk suit juxtaposed by a series of mega wide shouldered chalk-stripe jackets was truly impressive. Though the most beautiful moments were assemblages of courtiers’ frock coats and large hefty trenches into some swaddling fantasies.
 
Galliano also introduced a new Man Bag, a comforting pillow-like shape, made in padded leather; and played on the Margiela classic cloven hoof boot. Using it to anchor a natty modern Jet Setter playboy all in white – ski-pants paired with a ribbed wool jerkin.


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Maison Margiela - Fall-Winter2018 - Menswear - Paris - © PixelFormula

Indeed the UK designer also riffed on signature Margiela ideas like, his Belgium’s predecessor’s fondest for painted denim jackets; and love of conceptual fashion. To wit, some remarkable sandals made of ski crampons that will surely feature in endless editorial shoots.
 
“I would call it John Galliano for Martin Margiela. Because to my eye there were so many references to Martin’s work,” opined Renzo Rosso, Diesel founder and president of Only The Brave, the holding company that controls Margiela.
 
The house’s menswear remains a robust business, retailing in some 300 doors worldwide, compared to 380 for the women’s line.
 
That said, Galliano again declined to take a bow. He has not done so after any show since his exit from Christian Dior in 2011 after a drunken video of him insulting two strangers went viral – leading to his getting the sack. So, the sense of a designer still living within an existential penumbra was apparent as one exited, despite this excellent display of fashion. Staged inside Les Invalides, a museum, - in part dedicated to fallen military heroes - and, revealingly to a brilliant soundtrack – an orchestral version of that classic pop lament, whose title spoke volumes: “Please Release Me and Set Me Free.”

 

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