Maison Martin Margiela Couture Fall Winter 2013 Paris

The clickety clack, clickety clack sounds of a subway car pulling into an underground station was the opening melody of the Maison Martin Margiela ‘Artisanal’ fall/winter 2013 haute couture collection. It was soon followed by the haunting tune of a solo violist, such as those that are found in the never ending corridors of a Metro playing for pocket change, filling the air.

For what better location could there be for the house to conjure up in the minds of the audience then the multicultural, and socioeconomic melting pot that characterizes the Metro. Where people from all walks of life mingle freely. It’s a place where someone dressed in a jacket, T-shirt and “denim” jeans crafted out of latex wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. It’s where a woman in an A-line coat cut from the tulle skirt of a 1950s prom dress and embellished with blooming cloth flowers along the hem that could easily cross paths with one wearing couture denim jeans (remember the Maison Martin Margiela brand was acquired by Only The Brave, owned by Renzo Rosso, making it the sister brand of Diesel) with a crop top cobbled out of marble cabochon stones, as they transferred from one line of the underground to another.

And is there a more convenient way to get to the Opera or to see a couture collection - wearing your finest satin column evening gown cut with a pair of floral motif Art Nouveau curtains as an overlay, or a dramatically beaded hybrid garment that elegantly melds a gown with a classic black tuxedo- then the Metro?

Besides all of the re-appropriated finery on display there was one aspect of the show that was totally new. The brand presented in the collection five pieces from its new collaboration with Swarovski. Called Crystalactite, the rings, bracelets, hair clips and even spurs can all be worn in a multitude of ways. And as the designs are crafted from a new crystal and resin blend, the fusion does away with the need to use glue. These multipurpose adornments, looked to be right in keeping with the Margiela brand’s “waist not want not” philosophy.

As has become the norm for an ‘Artisanal’ collection, the faces of the models were covered in highly embellished masks. Much like the house itself, which has never revealed who the head designer of the brand its, the masks always give an interesting sense of anonymity to the collection. An anonymity not unlike what is felt by anyone who has walked among the masses on the Metro at rush hour. But its hard to imagine most of these designs going unnoticed no matter where they are worn.

- Jessica Michault


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