Maison Margiela Artisanal: You can’t tell a book by its cover
If any couturier is having a great week it surely is John Galliano, who staged a beautiful collection of hyper-deconstructed fashion for Maison Margiela Artisanal Wednesday morning in north Paris.
The show came two days after the unveiling of a superb exhibition – Christian Dior Couturier du Rêve, which confirmed Galliano as the most brilliant successor to Monsieur Dior.
All in a week, when, Renzo Rosso, the Italian billionaire who controls the house of Margiela revealed that business has never been better at the famed brand.
Galliano has sometimes been criticized, probably unfairly, for being too theatrical a designer for a house like Margiela, the ultimate conceptual maison.
Today, however, he was completely in synch with the storied legacy of Margiela. His starting point was a book - literally, as the Gibraltar-born creator took apart historic tomes, stitching and binding in a spellbinding display.
He cut out sleeves; separated them from the shoulders, dropped whole coats down the waist; played with proportions like a deranged architect, yet always managed to make images of great beauty. Cutting up sheer chiffon gowns into small blouses that revealed sporting bustiers; adding in a African tribal motif into a drop-dead gorgeous column; dissected metallic coatdresses with silver weightlifters’ belts.
A brilliant display of levity and wit, and a collection sure to ignite a trend towards racy transparency in fashion.
Staged in his own atelier, where stockmen bore trench-coats cut into a scores of ribbons, fabric swatches, toiles, and a 19th century mannequin lying on pre-Revolutionary carts. His staff standing – in white coats – proudly in a stairway as guests left highly impressed.
Margiela’s headquarters, a former convent opposite a classical French church named Saint-Joseph-des-Nations ('Saint Joseph of the Nations'). Fittingly, as there is no more multicultural designer than Galliano. His gestures and designs are extreme, but the results are soothing.
Climaxing with an astonishing trench coat meets Samurai dandy, made in a silken imitation of cardboard. “Bellissima!” exclaimed Renzo Rosso, sitting front row, in a show restricted to barely 80 guests.
Rosso revealed to FashionNetwork.com that Maison Margiela scored double-digit sales growth last year, with annual sales of 142 million euros.
“Business could not be better. Three quarters of Margiela business is ready-to-wear and the rest accessories. Typically in fashion houses it’s the other way about. So we see lots of growth potential with John. Lots!” beamed Rosso.
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