PARIS, France — Some of John Galliano’s models in his Artisanal show for Maison Margiela walked on Wednesday morning with their hair coated in a glistening, foamy cap of Matey Bubble Bath. Hair stylist Eugene Souleiman’s finishing touch couldn’t have worked better for a collection that pushed Galliano’s elevation of the humble to new heights, but, at the same time, teased — demoted — the fabulosity of haute couture. His fashion alchemy is utterly subversive. Just reflect on the way that Galliano turned plissé organza into corrugated cardboard, or trapped handfuls of fancy feathers under plastic, or made leather into a wood-look linoleum top. You could scarcely wish for anything more “authentic.” One flourish I loved: the ribbed hem of a sweater, amputated and slung round the waist as a belt.
He’s enraptured by “unconscious glamour,” the notion that a woman who throws something/anything on in a hurry exudes a careless enchantment. It’s an attitude that exists somewhere between dishabille and bricolage. Perfection is anathema. Nobody does that better than Galliano. The tumble of solid wools and sheer slips, of fetish trenches and ski sweaters, of tattered tulle bodices and strings of crystal defining bras was a confrontational fashion farago that projected Margiela’s original unhinging of fashion orthodoxy into a new anarchic fashion order. And I’m quite aware of the paradox: anarchy and order. Galliano to a T.
Everything was worn with cowboy boots, many of them gold. They made me think of Myra Breckinridge, possibly Galliano's sly way of underscoring that all fashion is drag. I know hers were white, but they felt like the same sly poke at the Vegas sheen of Americana. At the same time, they were also an acknowledgement of the Maison’s heritage. As was the last look, a ribbed knit dress slathered with white paint, like every single thing in a Margiela boutique. The notion of everything made uniform in such a way is scarcely Galliano, who leans more towards celebrations of extravagant individuality. But he has osmosed Margiela’s essence to an extraordinary degree, to produce a unique fashion hybrid that, in its defiance and waywardness and eerie beauty, has indeed birthed a new glamour.