In the 90s, Martin Margiela established his brand with the use of recycled materials, selling what amounted to downmarket items to an upscale crowd. His anti-fashion approach was wildly popular, and the new team at Maison Martin Margiela continues in a similar vein for Fall 2014 Couture. However, as much as Margiela intends to mine “fashion’s corpse” for influence, what they end up with is actual historical pieces woven into a tapestry of technicolor mixed-media accents. They weren’t just referencing history; they were incorporating it. This is a fresh step for the brand and the results were startling and beautiful. Working with a lithe, elongated silhouette, the Margiela team sped through simple looks that riffed on Edwardian costuming with its puffed sleeves and embroidered wallpaper patterns. Margiela also landed on a sensational alternative to the mullet hem by turning asymmetry to the side: sleeveless gowns were long at the side and then sliced straight up to the hipbone across the body.
The beginning half of the collection was pretty, but took a turn for the drop-dead gorgeous around the middle when Margiela presented a dress of electric blossoms, a look that was achieved by saturating fabric with intense, microscopic beading and patchworked cutouts. Subsequent looks evoked the same motif, and resulted in crested accents so majestic that they would shame the plumage of the proudest peacock. A gypsy mix of patterns was then quilted together for the latter portion of the collection, which the Margiela team irreverently paired with both fur coats and silk varsity jackets. All of these collage-like looks were made from leftover couture materials, disused coins, and even parts of an original Poiret opera coat. It was a triumph for the brand to be able to reinvent Margiela’s longstanding aesthetic, but with more evolved sensibilities for the modern market.
Photos: Courtesy of GoRunway