Photo: Kim Weston Arnold / Indigital.tv. Photo courtesy of Vogue
The article first appeared on the Vogue.com.
For John Galliano—as he explained via a podcast, his new formula for communicating ideas about his work—his thoughtful, high-concept Artisanal collection for Maison Margiela represents “the raw, raw, undiluted essence, the parfum,” of the house.
It is always fascinating seeing the creative mind at work, and at chez Margiela, Galliano’s process is laid bare as you experience the ideas being worked out and layered, piece by complex piece. In his dynamic presentation, the working methods of the haute couture were exposed—literally—in the reveal of the interfacings and magic stitchery that goes into constructing a man-tailored jacket, or in Katerina Jebb’s X-ray print photographs of garments, superimposed on other garments. Other examples of “the memory of a garment in another garment” include the Edie Beale–esque repurposing of a skirt (worn upside-down as a top) or clothes worn back to front as though put on in haste.
Clothes are crushed and squashed and mutated and shadowed beyond conventional recognition by being trapped beneath tubes of filmy nylon hosiery fabric; even feather and hair are caught within these translucent fabric sandwiches. The concept of layering was very much the backbone of this collection, as Galliano was drawn to the idea of “creating your own world within a world that’s very troubled at the moment.”
Evoking his controversial Clochard collection for Christian Dior Spring 2002, Galliano continues to find inspiration in marginalized people who “don’t want to live within the confines of society” and who dress in layers with “their most precious possessions on them.”
“We’re all nomads today,” adds Galliano, “. . . we do move in tribes.” Galliano calls it “nomadic glamour” and uses an electrifying palette of “techno sorbets” to leaven the natural colors of the utilitarian materials. With protection in mind (and perhaps a comforting embrace), there were layers and layers of quilted sleeping bags, and panels of the wadding made from pulped fabric, or the protective padded blankets used by removal companies, to amplify and define the silhouettes.
Corrugated cardboard, meanwhile, was given the haute couture treatment and interpreted in organza the color of a manila envelope, and spongy packing foam was sliced by a master tailor to create a classic caban. In the Margiela spirit, off-cuts of textiles from the luxury fabric houses were repurposed into patchworked garments, and the Chinese Ge Ba technique of bonding scraps of fabric together with a rice-based glue (traditionally used for lining soft leather goods) was given its exposed runway moment.
“Streetwear will always be important,” Galliano avers, but adds that, “I’m a dressmaker, it’s about technique, it’s about cutting, it’s about draping” to create the “volumes that make fashion move forward.” Those skills were revealed in elements such as the seemingly traditional men’s jackets and coats (in traditional menswear tweeds) that on closer inspection are actually capes that resemble late-19th-century visites that fashionable women once shrugged over their bustled gowns to pay their calls, their “sleeves” merely suggested by seams and artful cutting. There are no conventional button fastenings in the show either—Galliano prefers the high-tech scratch of reflective Velcro strips instead.
Read more on the Vogue.com.