“Cross-pollination,” the publicists at Maison Margiela (all in white lab coats) said repeatedly as they guided a journalist through the racks at its Paris showroom, with its chandeliers veiled in cotton voile and its black-and-white carpet bearing a ghostly pattern of Versailles parquet. Lo and behold the model photographed wearing look number one wore a beekeeper helmet. Cheeky, that John Galliano, offering a visual reminder that details in his couture trickle down into the ready-to-wear, including pre-collections.


Pleats, jacquards and little black dresses all figured in this fresh and sprightly offer, vaguely Seventies at times with its suede tunics and narrow polo dresses; occasionally homespun Fifties with its tweed skirts and satin blouses in Butter Mints candy colors. Except for buttoned trenchcoats sliced up the front with a razor, and striped shirts patched together into shift dresses — errant collars here, extra sleeves there — resort overall offered less deconstruction and more luxe, as Galliano rendered anoraks in suede or lemon yellow organza, or a short toggle coat in double-faced cashmere.


The vast showroom also presented more commercial interpretations of the British designer’s ideas, some from several seasons back, including handsome tuxedos and T-shirt dresses dangling bits of lingerie. Jutting kerchiefs made a comeback, too, blending in just fine.

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