12 January 2015

This is what everybody's been waiting for. John Galliano's genesis at Maison Margiela.

(click on the picture to view in gallery mode)

Photo: Marcus Tondo /

Since October last year, the fahion world had had something to wait for, that John Galliano was going to helm the Maison Margiela Artisanal. Mostly because it's his come-back after four year hiatus due to his dismissal from Dior and his own namesake label, after his anti-semitic comentary in a Parisian bar. Such a long wait and a longing, is probably because many are not satisfied with fashion these days.

The others, are in quandary. Even though juxtaposed some of creations from both which have similarities (and some not so blatant you need to squint to see), it's just like when Hedi Slimane was appointed to be creative director at YSL; people are strongly in split opinion.

So when John Galliano's initial show for the Maison is finally here, it's time to celebrate.

Some people say that it's a blank canvas to fill, but it's very hard not to recognise the homage paid, the archieve visited, and in some extent, the few looks that even Monsieur Martin Margiela himself would give a nod to.

For those who expected it's going to be very Galliano, especially after the hints he showed by designing (1) Kate Moss' wedding dress (2) a black dress for Anna Wintour for BFAs in London not long time ago, I suppose it's not quite so. He seems to be serious in taking the decision maker in the artisanal atelier very close to the conceptual couture à la Margiela.

First, in size it's not a grandeur of a show. Remembering that Galliano's shows were always whole package, the clothes, the music, the ambience, the set, this show is pretty neat, with not more than a hundred white seats and just one row on each side, which later filled by peers and tightly selected press. He also didn't wear flambouyant marching outfit when he's showing up at the end of the show.

Mr. Galliano didn't quite impose his aesthetic at Dior or even at John Galliano label, hence the collection is very hard to decipher. I feel like he was at some sort of limitation, albeit the freedom he's promised. But the result is a marriage of those two.

For the first look, it is a high-collared dress crafted from which looks like the inside part of a leather, pinned with  car miniature chained linked to each other. And the following comes like a bang. A black jacket with bias cut and tweaked upper part with skin-toned bustier. Then a black coat with big circular pocket from plastic and puffy sleeves, as well as black buttons made of Hore Conch shells, followed by a red coat with a table of mollusk selection at the front: auger, clam, button shells. The models are also got some faux Earl piercing with pearl, some adorned with gems as masks. There is a long black coat with accent shaped in roman army read for a battle. There are ballerina ribbons snaking up shoes, a single fishnet glove worn on the left arm, destructed tights, a pair of jean shorts worn over fishnets, and two-toned shoes with embellishments, peeking out under a huge red gown with a mirror dazzle of Liberace.

I can't deny that most of the pieces are hugely collectible for museum, with a few pieces can be worn with ease, which doesn't really sound either Galliano or Margiela. But for certain, this collection has created a big buzz, partly thanks to #MargielaMonday.

In précis, many factors why this collection is in my opinion successful, benefiting both John Galliano and the Maison: the news surrounding John and his dismissal, as well as his comeback, the timing, the place that it's not in the center of haute couture, and closer to John's artistic origin, and the aesthetic of the Maison with its deconstruction artisanal - which here means finding everything and you could construct almost any clothing items out of it. Indeed, he delivers an overdue and well-deserved encomium to a largely denigrated chapter in the couturesphere. Thus I have a tickling question in the back of my head:

Just from the clothes, ceteris paribus: if you didn't know this collection was created by John Galliano, would you wear -or probabably in a bigger picture- praise it?

Signorfandi, raucous resurrection of a star...

Update: The Maison's name is changed to Maison Margiela.