PARIS, France — Maison Margiela’s Artisanal collection used to tell stories of a depth and complexity that few other collections could match. There were always fulsome descriptions of each garment, because knowledge enhanced appreciation. The collection John Galliano showed on Wednesday came similarly supported by the written word, to similar effect. It established a remarkable rapport with the essentials of the Maison, at the same time as it clarified what a confident Galliano brings to the party.
It was obvious the show was about The Process of Creation, from the relative restraint of its opening passage to the sensory overload of its finale, the linking conceit being the art of collage. One of the first looks was a white jacket, with an insinuating finger of lamé jacquard tickling at its collarbone. By the end, the lamé had been supersized, with fil coupé and cloqué jacquard, into a pair of giant trousers that were twisted into an evening dress. Galliano has always been a master of the surreal effect. The model looked like she was wearing Versailles.
There were nuggets of familiarity — a neat little military jacket, a vintage “rainforest” t-shirt, a checked wool jacket, a bomber jacket, big like a Margiela classic. Sometimes, they were in bits, hanging on for dear life. Sometimes, there were bits hanging off them, like the double-breasted black wool blazer, which trailed a cloud of pink and orange from one shoulder. Galliano wanted these "everyday archetypes" to heighten the mysterious alchemy of opposites that fired the collection. Nothing less than the mystery of creativity. Helped spectacularly by the hair and makeup, every piece told a story. You were dying for the 24-outfit parade to slow a little so you could listen. But something else Galliano always did well was leave ‘em wanting more.