John Galliano isn’t crafting couture for Maison Margiela; he’s creating “Artisanal Artistry”. Since joining the calendar (which occurred before Galliano was named to the helm of Margiela), the brand has hewed to an alternate path through the maze of glittering gowns that crowd the couture runways. The difference is not only found in the name (Maison Margiela’s collections are called “Artisanal” rather than “Couture”) but also in the approach, which sees recycled materials, treated fabrics, deconstructed engineering, and other avant-garde techniques applied to the creation of its collections.
With Galliano steering the ship, the abstraction has only increased at Margiela.
With Galliano steering the ship, the abstraction has only increased at Margiela – a fact underscored by a dizzying Fall 2016 Couture presentation that saw “upside-down” coats in albino felted yak hair, “inside-out” cotton thread embroidery, and scissor-back navy wool overcoats share the runway with knit cycling tops, rubber waders, and nylon windbreakers. Galliano also joined forces with the artist Nick Knight to create visual activations for the collection, which were displayed ahead of the show via social media, and a mesmerizing ‘British Birds’ print, which appeared on a draped satin-organza dress. Meanwhile, famed milliner Stephen Jones provided ‘Tricorn’ hats similar to those worn by Napoleon Bonaparte, which added a militaristic feel to the proceedings. When added up together, the disparate elements of the collection create a soporific, trippy effect.