PARIS, France — Airport announcements filled the air before John Galliano’s models took to the catwalk in his latest outing for Maison Margiela. When they arrived, there was something about their truncated disarray which suggested Galliano’s satiric comment on the vicissitudes of modern air travel: bagged, tagged and lollygagged. But preparing oneself for flight in a flap was actually a perfect scenario for Galliano’s appetite for, as he says “the glamour that materialises through dressing in haste”. The seemingly casual arbitrariness of everything slip-sliding away created an exhilarating new energy.
And so it was with the forensic dissection and reassembly of the trench coat in this collection. It was taken apart and reconstituted as a sheer shadow of itself, or abbreviated as a suggestion of a jacket. Truncation, abbreviation, decortiqué…One example: a t-shirt was reduced to a collection of feather-trimmed seams. It’s Galliano’s instinct to ravage, then to recreate. Maybe that was Margiela’s too. Perfectly tailored good taste passed neither of them by.
There was an immaculate suede safari jacket here. But don’t you have to know how to do something before you undo it? That’s always been Galliano’s genius. And, even though it sounds like a cracked record at this point, it’s what makes him so perfect as the keeper of the Margiela flame. All that elevation of the banal? The terrycloth, wrapped and draped like duchesse? “Appropriation of the inappropriate,” Galliano called it. And if his terry-clad models were at a spa, the hair that flowed from their tacky bathing caps suggested they’d been swimming in gold.
John Galliano is still fashion’s greatest alchemist.