John Galliano’s talent for collaging fashion codes together – thereby creating provocative new forms – is the reason why Maison Margiela tapped his particular energy to lead the brand in a new direction. With several seasons as the head of Margiela under his belt, he is hellbent on tapping the vein of unconventionality at every turn, which means each Margiela presentation feels distinctly singular, rather than a serialized effort from one season to the next. For Spring/Summer 2017, Galliano upended streetwear codes with a refined aesthetic, mixing macramé polos with barnacle-like rubber appliqués, collaging scuba gear with British plaids, and otherwise repurposing traditional looks like trenches and pencil skirts to fit his fever-dream outlook on fashion.
Each Maison Margiela presentation feels distinctly singular, rather than a serialized effort from one season to the next.
Without a reference point, Margiela collections can be hard to define, and this collection is no less obscure than Galliano’s previous efforts. His models were turned into alien creatures in flesh-colored bathing caps with crystal antennae, and clothes were turned upside-down and inside-out. There were also references to yoga, as in the case of a model wearing a fuzzy pink leotard and matching cardigan presumably headed to a vinyasa class with a turquoise mat in tow.
However, there were also sensible looks in the procession of bizarro styles that were a key takeaway for the collection. They came in the form of serene mint outerwear, face-printed sheath dresses, voluminous wool walking shorts, and cool suede hoodies. Athletic gear was constantly riffed on throughout the show, and terry-cloth skirts, nylon parkas, mesh bodysuits, and scuba suits made unique contrasts to a variety of baroque textiles. Galliano has the unique ability to unsettle the senses while casting a spell, and Maison Margiela’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection provokes and enchants in equal measure.