John Galliano brings a potent mix to Maison Margiela. He is a couture genius, but has surrounded himself with a young, talented team at the house – and he listens to them. Technically, what comes down the catwalk is steeped in the age-old traditions of Paris couture, but the attitude is pure youth. Sprinkle a little Galliano story telling magic on top and you have a show to remember. The designer channeled the “The contemporary spirit of young rebels with a conscience”, a theme he’s often revisited over his long career, (his graduate show Les Incroyables was inspired by the flamboyant fashion subculture adopted by young aristocrats, who survived the French revolution and The Terror and wore outrageous, provocative looks in riposte).
This collection picked up where his last Artisanal show left off – with the story of Count and Hen, the run-away lovers who starred in a Cinema Inferno extravaganza. These haute couture characters have had a ready-to-wear lovechild – a combination of Count’s aristocratic bearing and Hen’s false pretentions – who stalked this Margiela catwalk. “Youth-centric” was how the house described it and the irreverent way it collaged different eras and references together reflected the cut-and-paste impatience of today’s hyper-speed trend cycle. You could see the F.U attitude of Jordan, the glorious punk icon with jackets and shirts tucked into footless fishnet tights (a styling trick that was so wrong it was right) and Vivienne Westwood in tattered tartan customized knits. Galliano’s beloved bias dresses were hacked to tatters and tucked into rompers and a collaboration with Pendelton, the American blanket maker, fused check shirts with fringed blanket coats and jackets that referenced Cowboy garb. Oh, and Mickey Mouse made an appearance too thanks to a Disney collab. Galliano’s young models inhabited the clothes in spectacular style, stalking the catwalk with haughty, haute couture, swagger. A series of grand, tulle party dresses, fit for daring debutants (who don’t mind showing their knickers) brought it all to a riotous close.
Photography courtesy of Maison Margiela.