Maison Margiela Artisanal’s natty and nutty nomadic couture
John Galliano went on the road with his latest Artisanal couture show for the house of Maison Margiela. But in the mind, rather than to some far distant land.
Entitled “In the Memory of,” the collection’s underlying concept was the idea that a garment might have its own memory of another garment within it. An idea underlined by the metallic goggles worn by many models, as if marching in a virtual world. Others wore cell phones and computer tablets, attached on metallic braces to their ankle, or sewn onto their clothes.
Staged in the house’s historic headquarters in the funky 11th arrondissement, this was a brilliant expression of Nomadic Glamor – where Galliano’s talent in deconstruction was rarely more beguiling.
“Volumes, that’s what makes fashion move forward. That’s what it is all about. I’m a dressmaker, that is why I do. So I’ve been investigating, exploring and giving ourselves a real workout in our atelier,” said the UK couturier in a podcast made available to editors minutes before the show began. So, he tied up padded yellow and black cashmere coats into huge knotted collars; and held together chinoiserie boleros with fireman’s reflective Velcro straps.
Where before at Christian Dior, Galliano used the most noble of materials, here he mixed up fine fabrics with the detritus of urban life. From the padded Chinese silk and Day-Glo plastic cuffs; to the masses of goat hair and feathers and stenciled-out neoprene; to the old-fashioned French tubular pillows and bits and pieces from used stockmen. One marvelous look composed of a mega-lapel white cashmere jacket and a skirt made from deconstructed electric blue nylon padded trench, came stamped with NF – meaning the Norme Française regulation one sees on building materials.
Most of the cast had their entire skulls wrapped in silk chiffon; their hair covered in shinny plastic; their cloven-toed platform shoes wrapped up in flesh colored tights, as they paraded around a revamped show-space by Dutch architect Anne Holtrop, finished with what looked like giant papier-mâché mattresses, a precursor of a new redesign for Margiela flagships in late 2018.
John’s final look was exceptional – a huge mass of beige layering made of voluminous parka, safari hat made of a mini trench coat, pillow and a tablet dangling behind the model – had the entire audience applauding.
Galliano has never taken a bow since leaving Dior, in part to respect the tradition of founder Martin Margiela, who skipped the ovations of every show, expect his last.
At the end, Galliano’s latest collection received prolonged applause. All his guests cheering as if to make sure that Galliano appreciated how much they admired this epic show.
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