John Galliano Debuts a Wild Couture Collection for Maison Margiela

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Maison Margiela Spring 2015 Couture illustrated by Joseph Larkowsky

When Anna Wintour first stepped out at the British Fashion Awards in December in the first gown John Galliano designed under his new appointment as creative director of Margiela, the fashion world wrinkled their collective nose and shrugged their shoulders a little. I mean, yes, very pleasant. Lovely black floor length number with swirling floral detail, an almost mimic of a Galliano dress Wintour has worn previously from his Fall 1995 collection under his eponymous label. But for a world preview of what is to come, it was, by any standards, a tad mundane.

Cut to Monday afternoon in London. With tension building, and after the shocking news that Galliano would be showing there instead of the traditional French capital during the official Couture season in a few weeks, the fashion elite gathered for what turned out to be a complete barrage of ideas, intrigue, illusion, and amazing craziness.

Galliano was known during his previous employment for his extravagance, glamour, beauty, and eye for creating red carpet ready ball gowns for any Hollywood A-Lister. Margiela however, is not known for its Hollywood affiliation, but its constant play on the essence of fashion, fabric manipulation, frivolity, and raw ideas.

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It seems Galliano took advantage of this and really experimented with basically anything the designer and team could find. This was plainly explained by the first look, a beige paneled waistcoat outlined with sprayed black toy cars, racing around the neckline, pockets, and hem. Models wore two tone tights, with matching shoes sporting sculpted heels.

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Red made a prominent appearance, in skirts teamed with tiger skin jackets, a column halter dress and a 3D embroidered frock-coat and ball gown, the former covered in sprayed cabochons and seashells depicting a tribal Schiaparelli-esque face, the latter strewn with a golden bullion bib, and an eclectic mix of…stuff teamed with a golden scull mask, reminiscent of the Roman Catacomb Saints.

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Galliano’s trademarks raised their iconic heads. His affiliation and constant reinvention of the 1920/’30s saw the light in a scalloped fringe and loose, cropped opera coats, as well as the golden glittering hair caps, as well as bias cut skirts and sheer tulle appliqué gowns. He also touched on some of the ideas the House of Margiela had done previously; stonewash and black denim hot pants made an appearance, as well as a selection of masculine black suits, some double breasted, some encased in a tufty shrug of black hair.

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This collection is still in its early stages; it’s been a while since we have seen such passion and interest in design, and especially couture. It is a grower, and it does require a closer look for anyone who may be skeptical. The details, the ideas, and the execution are all phenomenal, as blatant or as quietly concealed as they may be. It will definitely be a collection to remember.

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As for where to go from here, I’m really not sure. Galliano quickly becomes a master wherever he is. He harbors the passion and talent to apply it to any scenario, blatantly seen during his one season stint at Oscar de la Renta. His aesthetic and own personal style and taste will always follow him, and it will always be something his avid followers want to see. Whether the appointment at Margiela will be a long term fix, we don’t know, but as an initial mark-making exercise on the current consumer driven face of fashion, it was indeed more one made with a spray-can instead of a fine-tipped pen.

Collection images courtesy of Maison Margiela