The link between the Maison Margiela haute couture collection and its ready-to-wear line continues to get stronger — even blend — in the hands of designer John Galliano. He has also proven himself to have a sense of humor that the founder probably would have deemed delightful. Seeing as both men seem to take pleasure in undercutting traditional norms and fashion tropes.
Galliano's theatrics this season saw him taking beautiful, slightly padded and roomy 1950s-style gowns and knee-length coats — which the models wore with pride — and revealing them to have a two-dimensional pattern painted into the back. Just imagine what a state a woman would be in if she realized that the chair or bench she had been sitting on was covered in fresh paint. Its contrasting imprint leaving an indelible pattern on her flowing silk skirt or satin coat. She could do one of two things, take it out of rotation in her wardrobe or perhaps, as Galliano would hope, sport it with pride like a wearable piece of art.
Finding beauty in unexpected places is a hallmark element of the Margiela label. That is why a dress crafted from broken bits of mirror with an overlay to dilute a reflection or a flower-printed brocade skirt with the blooms half cut out and flapping free looked right at home here. Galliano too seems completely in his element.
When things got to the edge of overdone, the designer would rein it all back and send out a perfectly tailored two-button suit. Albeit one cut in Granny Smith green. Just to prove he could do standard fare, but only on his terms.
The second half of the show looked East for inspiration as traditional Geisha garb was transformed by Galliano into something stiffer and more structured than the original silk Kimonos. Where purses replaced obi bows, and kitten heels with pronounced posteriors were worn instead of traditional geta sandals. The result was oddly lovely and completely apart from anything else currently happening in fashion.
A place Galliano looks like he is enjoying very much.