Haute couture fashion week came full circle at the first couture runway show of Maison Martin Margiela. Sitting front row was the man everyone in fashion is talking about - Raf Simons. And up until the moment the MMM show finished, his debut as the head designer at the Christian Dior fashion house was the only real highlight of this generally underwhelming fashion week.
But in just 15 looks, the “Artisanal” collection, which was built by a team rather than a single designer, was able to generate a frisson of excitement that had been missing at many venues. Thus helping this haute couture fashion week go out on a high note.
As always with the MMM brand the idea of transforming everyday items and giving a new lease on life to forgotten frocks is the name of the game. This collection took that concept to an even higher level. Each of the one-of-a-kind outfits was crafted by hand into new designs that sometimes hinted at their past, or audaciously challenged the audience to accept them in their new incarnation.
Usually there is a hook running though a MMM show that links the different outfits together. This time it was the “outside the box” use of the armature of a crystal doorknob acting as a closure to jackets. But putting this accessory aside the clothing, much of which was crafted out of vintage lace, was no less interesting. The clever re-appropriation of 1950s baseball gloves to make a bolero (which took 48 hours to make) or a sleeveless jacket (43 hours) and pair them with the ultra feminine lace pants and tops was one of the strongest ideas of the show. And the final overcoat cut from an orange and black sail once used for windsurfing had a lot of potential and could/should be the starting point of a future ready to wear collection.
The models of the show had wore masks covered in more than 2,400 shimmering crystals. During the show what was surly reflected in those mirrored surfaces were the smiling faces of an audience happy that haute couture has found a strong new member.