All of those naysayers and doubters who thought the pairing of John Galliano with the avant garde world of the Masion Margiela brand now have egg on their face. In just one ready-to-wear show (with the warm up help of a haute couture collection) Galliano proved that he was more than capable of creating a seamless, sartorial mind meld between himself and the house.
In keeping with the purity and the mystery of the founder, Galliano used a plain white backdrop for his collection, and did not take a bow. Not even when the audience of fashion tastemakers wouldn’t leave their seats at the end of the show, cheering and clapping in hopes he would appear.
“Because Margiela is about that plain white wall. We all know it’s him,” explained Galliano's longtime friend and collaborator Stephen Jones. “It actually puts the focus more on the clothes, which I think is what he wants. And the clothes were gorgeous. They were relaxed. And it looked as though he was having a good time.”
It is true there was a return of a playful theatricality to the catwalk that has been missing in fashion since the designer last showed a collection. “He is up to his old tricks,” said a delighted seatmate as she watch one model scurry down the catwalk, her mouth caked with fluo lipstick and hunched over with her knees knocking as if she was a missing Edith Beale, who still wandered the grounds of the Grey Gardens estate.
The show notes started with the line, “In evoking a calculated imperfection, the individual emerges.” And that is exactly what this collection was. Full of pieces such as a trench coat perforated with raw edge openings, a short, plaid skirt worn as if inside out with its silk slip showing and torn a bit at the hem and long negligee dresses finished off with a coat attached like a backpack to billow out like a cape from behind. One standout jacket was crafted from a cheetah print base that Galliano then embellished with a smattering of feather and lapels in python. It was heart stoppingly beautiful. The Margiela way of repurposing and reimagining sartorial remnants to give them new raison d'etre was alive and well.
And this time it wasn’t just the clothing that got a second lease on life at Masion Margiela.