John Galliano is back and this may be just the infusion of new life and spirit that Maison (Martin) Margiela needs at this moment. The past few seasons at the Margiella house have limped along trying to maintain a modestly commercial collection, but found itself slowing pulling away from the Maison’s traditions. Galliano does an excellent job of pulling the collection back while still demonstrating that he is going to leave his own lasting mark on the brand.
Don’t worry, there were still plenty of people running around in white lab coats and the polished stainless steel floor, while rather noisy for walking, did a great job of keeping that antiseptic feeling for which the house is known. There were a sufficient amount of commercially viable pieces in the collection as well. Be watching for a number of trench coats, especially one in brown suede that is absolutely stunning. There’s also a snakeskin-collared bomber that is going to make a considerable splash.
Do we really watch a Galliano show for the commercial stuff, though? Probably not. There were plenty of strange and different pieces tossed into the mix and the deconstruction for which Galliano is most well known gradually took over as the collection progressed, to the point that by the time we reached the end of the show I was almost surprised that the clothes were still clinging to the models’ frames.
Speaking of models, they were just as much a part of the spectacle as were the clothes. Sure, some came strutting down the catwalk looking every bit of 16, maybe 17 years old. There’s something about the way those long coats draped on those small frames that made them look younger and more fragile than normal. Interspersed between them, though, were models in wigs, with makeup making them older, and styled in such as way as to almost make them look homeless. Is homeless chic going to be in this fall? These models here hunched over, grasping at their clothes as though someone might try to take them right off their bodies. Knowing the desperation of some to get their hands on this collection, that might be a reasonable fear.
In his designer notes, Galliano talked about the individual emerging from “calculated imperfection,” as well as disregarding, “the dated concerns of what to wear, and when.” In other words, what some might see as chaos and mess is totally intentional on the designer’s part. He wants us to think about clothes differently, merging daywear and nightwear, house wear with formal wear. It’s an interesting concept. The question is: are you ready to buy it?
Maybe he can interest you in a pair of fuzzy green shoes.