The 2010s / Galliano’s Future at Maison Margiela

Maison Margiela AW18 Couture by John Galliano

Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.

John Galliano‘s vision of the future at Maison Margiela.

Maybe I wasn’t a total fan of every Maison Margiela collection under John Galliano, but one thing is sure: the designer’s vision for the brand is always thought-provoking. Moreover, just a couple of days ago, it was announched that after five years as creative director of the label, John has extended his contract. Galliano joined Maison Margiela in 2014, taking over the brand’s womenswear, menswear, accessories and Artisanal couture collection. Under his tenure, the revenues have even doubled (which is positively surprising!). John’s talent is matched by his understanding of today’s generations: its ways of thinking, struggles and dreams. And he is doing exactly what the label always did at its best: disrupt, innovate, and inspire. One of my favourite collections is the autumn-winter 2018 couture line-up. Collections like this make you believe in fashion again. Maison Margiela‘s Artisanal line is an outlet for Galliano‘s wildest ideas, which seems to let him explore his most dynamic ideas with the unlimited freedom. But when you listened to John speaking about the collection, you suddenly undertood it’s not just a mega-artist’s next epic fantasy. There’s a seed of reality in those multi-layered garments packed with utilitarian textiles, protective pillow-y elements and extreme colours. “We’re all nomads today. . . we do move in tribes.” That nomadic glamour, the term he coined after the show, refers to the contemporary state of things. On the daily basis, we absorb so much information through different, constantly booming media. At the end of the day, we want comfort – but is it even possible in today’s world? Rather, we need shelter or an armour – which can be constructed from tulle, felt wool or some sponge-y material, just as Galliano predicts. Even though we already exist in the hi-tech world, the vision of iPhones and iPads sticking out of our bodies like some kind of exoskeleton feels rather dystopian on the other note. But then, if the future will bring the humanity to “neo-digital natives”, as the designer called it, then at least our wardrobes won’t disappoint with boldness.

All collages by Edward Kanarecki.

The Importance of History. Maison Margiela SS20

At Maison Margiela, John Galliano once again reflects on the digital age, with an exploration of hope, heroines and liberation in the face of “the chaotic noise of the social media debris“. Also, this was one of the most deep collections in a while coming under the Margiela label. Galliano is British, and Brexit is a topic that moves him personally. One of the slogans frequently voiced by the right is that British independence is “what we fought for in the war” – a false, trigger phrase which ignores the fact that the fight was against the forces of fascism in Europe. His spring-summer 2020 collection was a timely salute to the ordinary young men and women – the nurses and airmen, the army and navy boys – who stepped up to win the victory against Nazism in alliance with the French Resistance in occupied France. “Reverence for the lessons of history and what they taught us,” read a thought line in his press release. “Stories of hope, heroines, and liberation are forgotten as history draws ever closer to repetition.”  This couldn’t be put together in a better way, really. First look: a navy cape, white hospital sleeves, and a gray serge pencil skirt. Second, a model in a black dress with a veiled hat trimmed with a feather, inspired by the the 1930s or 1940s (probably a nod to the Frenchwomen of the Resistance who went about their undercover work carrying secrets and explosives in their). Galliano as well turned to exploring uniform – of course in his non-chalant, experimental manner. Other than a traditional white mackintosh coat or eclectic jewellery made out of military stripes, pins and medals, there is plenty to be proud of in heritage, Galliano seemed to be saying in this collection, but that as well  includes the right to freedom of self-expression, (inclusive of defending the LGBTQ+ rights that have been enshrined and respected by law since Europe has been united – well, mostly everywhere). However, please note that the collection wasn’t heavy with history; it wasn’t all serious and solemn. It was fun and dramatic; it was a celebration of male eroticism with a clubbing twist (have you seen Leon Dame’s finale walk?); it felt spontaneous, even though it wasn’t.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Nomadic Glamour. Maison Margiela Couture AW18

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Collections like this make you believe in fashion again. Maison Margiela‘s Artisanal line (read: haute couture) became an outlet for John Galliano‘s wildest ideas, which seems to let him explore his most dynamic ideas with the unlimited freedom. But when you listen to John speaking about the collection, you suddenly understand it’s not just a mega-artist’s next epic fantasy. There’s a seed of reality in those multi-layered garments packed with utilitarian textiles, protective pillow-y elements and extreme colours. “We’re all nomads today. . . we do move in tribes.” That nomadic glamour, the term he coined after the show, refers to the contemporary state of things. On the daily basis, we absorb so much information through different, constantly booming media. At the end of the day, we want comfort – but is it even possible in today’s world? Rather, we need shelter or an armour – which can be constructed from tulle, felt wool or some spong-y material, just as Galliano predicts. Even though we already exist in the hi-tech world, the vision of iPhones and iPads sticking out of our bodies like some kind of exoskeleton feels rather dystopian on the other note. But then, if the future will bring the humanity to “neo-digital natives”, as the designer says, then at least our wardrobes won’t disappoint with  boldness.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The MET was Heaven.

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Maria Carla Boscono by Juergen Teller.

I very rarely write about such mainstream events as the MET Gala, but this year was awkwardly… good. A heaven’s gift, even. Noting this year’s Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination theme, the guests had to give a thought to their appearance. Actually, it could have gone all wrong. But, surprisingly, some of the looks will become somewhat iconic! And that’s something to cherish. It’s truly pleasing to know that there are actors, musicians and celebrities that want to break the norms and dare to stand out on the red carpet – especially at MET, where boredom should leave right away.

I know I might look really late with this fellow ranking of the best looks, comparing to all the others in the industry (well, my final exams are in progress, so please do excuse me!). But still, posting this feels like a right thing to do.

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How I love Frances McDormand in this Valentino haute couture ensemble. She looks so non-chalant, yet chilled out. And she smoked a cigarette, while wearing that magnificent headwear. Thanks God for Pierpaolo Piccioli, who really nailed it with that collection, and thanks God for Frances, a woman to adore and admire.

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Well, Rihanna in John Galliano‘s major Maison Margiela pope fashion. No explanation needed I guess.

 

Anthony Vaccarello‘s Saint Laurent gang of dark angels that featured Zoë Kravitz, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Anja Rubik, Kate Moss, Mica Arganaraz and Charlotte Casiraghi. Hell yes.

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Solange in Iris Van Herpen is somewhere between an alien dominatrix and a Goddess. Can be two at a time, why not.

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Possibly, Greta Gerwig wanted to look elegantly invisible. Well, that dramatic The Row dress was the MET Gala’s most serene fashion moment, but in the best possible way. A nun goes to the ball! Love.

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Susie Cave‘s velvet Gucci gown is pure romance, as if taken straight from a romantic era ballad.

I’m picky, I know. But those were my ultimate favourites. Amen.

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Hi-Tech Magic. Maison Margiela Haute Couture SS18

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When I returned to designing, I was taken aback by how everyone was seeing shows through their phones, John Galliano confessed to the press after the spring-summer 2018 couture show for Maison Margiela. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em? Well, you can say that Galliano found a compromise for his initial frustration with the Insta-phenomen. A very, very innovative one. The audience members were asked to turn their cameras to flash throughout the show, which resulted in a totally unexpected experience. Everyone captured their own images of fabrics of the high-tech garments as the models walked down the runway. “It’s quite scientific,” Galliano continued. “We recorded every moment of what we were making, then looked at the photographs and altered what we were doing according to the photos.” The reaction of polyurethane to camera flash works magic on holographic material that was layered over polka dots and artisanal chinoiserie jacquards. In other words, what you see IRL, looks (and shines) differently, when you compare it to digital shot of the same piece. Fashion, for goodness sake, is a dream! And Galliano knows that. If your pocket isn’t filled with a haute couture budget, it’s just the matter of time when the hi-tech concept hits Maison Margiela’s regular ready-to-wear.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.