One expects something different from John Galliano because one consistently gets something different from John Galliano. This is what makes the designer a perfect fit for Maison Margiela. This house was made to do something different. So, is it any surprise that this morning’s presentation of their spring/summer collection was unlike anything we’ve seen walk down a runway this season? No, it’s no surprise at all.
What is more surprising are the times when Galliano is almost normal, at least in the commercial sense. These are the few times you look up from your notes and think, “Wow, that looks like something someone I know would wear.” These moments don’t happen often, mind you, but they’re there. Such as when Galliano sends down a trench coat, a frequent point of obsession for him this season, and you see that it’s actually a very well made and attractive piece of outerwear. There’s also an incredible brown suede top cinched at the waste and a number of skirts and shorts that, if styled slightly differently, leave the world of absurdity and become quite normal.
However, there are the elements that define the show as Galliano. The headpieces come to mind first because they are such a dominant visual. They’re not really hats, exactly. Their design run between futuristic and well-dressed street bum. Some are well connected to the Internet of the future. One even seems prepped for those VR goggles we’ll all be wearing sooner or later. The colors are bright and the designs intriguing. Put that together, and they could be the “it” item for next spring. There are also elf ears here, though, and some very large, feature disorienting goggles. Those take a little more imagination. I might can see the elf ears given how a certain editor I know has a fondness for wearing cat ears. The two could be interchangeable, right? The goggles, though, are a bit of a stretch. They almost seem as though they’re making fun of someone.
I’m not sure who decided that using bubbles as a clothing trim was a good idea, but Galliano took the concept and ran with it. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen bubbles this season, but the designer found a very creative use for them long hems and seams. Think of them as chunky jewelry for your clothes. Most the time, these really look good from a visual perspective. One just has to wonder how much weight they add to the garment.
Then, there’s the nude leotard. I can’t figure out what his intention was here. Does he really like the leotard? We see it peeking out from under some pieces here and there. But when he sends it down the runway as a bare top with a brightly covered bottom one tends to wonder if he was inferring nudity without actually going there. It might be interesting to see what kind of reaction it gets on the street.
As delightfully different as this collection is, there’s still a comfortableness in the creativity. Galliano doesn’t do bizarre just for bizarre’s sake in this collection. While the specific styling forces us to think of the clothing from a different perspective, the pieces themselves are quite wonderful. Sometimes we need a little push so that we don’t get into a rut with our wardrobe. This was the perfect amount of push we need to get through spring.