Maison Martin Margiela Haute Couture Spring Summer 2014 Paris

It might not sound like a big deal but when a fashion insider is overheard at a Masion Martin Margiela Artisanal couture show saying that the clothing was “wearable” its is no small statement.

Up until now this brand’s couture collection has been filled with garments cobbled together from everything from candy wrappers to baseball gloves.  The clothing was always inventive, creative and quirky, but wearable? Not so much.

This time however the brand’s repurposing of remnants and long forgotten finery didn’t feel like a statement against consumerism, but rather a hopeful expression of how to view (and wear) clothing in a new way.

Let’s start with the wearability of this show. Entrenched in a “real world” perspective of couture, the collection opened with a plain white t-shirt dress embellished with a left over panel of Mariano Fortuny fabric at the front and its skirt crafted out of other Fortuny scraps. This use of vibrant textiles and tapestries created (or inspired) by an artist known around the world like Frank Lloyd Wright, Verner Panton or Paul Gauguin gave an instant avant-garde edge to traditional garments like wrap skirts, oversized overcoats or classic wide leg trousers.

When the show wasn’t proposing viable wardrobe options it was making the hearts of fashion directors and stylist beat faster with some “editorial only” pieces destined to live on in the pages of glossy magazines. This included some brilliant tattoo motif beaded embroidery tops and a long vest and silver coat, which were festooned with “junk drawer” finds like buttons, plastic pearls, silver chains and coins.

Breathing life back into discarded treasures is the hallmark of Masion Martin Margiela’s couture line. And in just a few short seasons it has also given the haute couture calendar some much needed vigor.

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