Unconscious glamour, the result of “dressing in haste” — a trope central to John Galliano’s Maison Margiela. And now, “dressing in reverse: ‘Oops! I put my coat on before my dress!'”
Galliano makes it seem perfectly normal, just an accidental collateral result from modern lives lived in a constant state of overdrive. “I love the idea of exploring. The first layer is your coat, and then you put your blazer on top, and your blazer can double-up as a new dress, then on top of that you put a jumper,” Galliano said backstage at his show on Wednesday. It may sound accidental, but on a Galliano runway, every wondrously wanton compilation, from broad stroke to infinitesimal nuance, is the result of deep consideration and meticulous execution.
Nor is he drawn to obvious connections. By general-population understanding of the glamour (however mundane such interpretation might be), Galliano’s fall collection was anything but, unconsciously or otherwise. Rather, it played like a call to arms in a sense, an SOS for flamboyant self-protection: The storm is speeding nigh, and Galliano wants his women to be ready for it, in clothes that protect, reflect but never camouflage. The signature linings he’s brought out from under may be anonymous; the clothes are anything but.
Since his arrival at Margiela three years ado, Galliano has developed powerful codes, of which unconscious glamour and dressing in haste are only two. Another: décortiqué, stripping a garment down to its essence, to a “memory” of the original piece. Here, he incorporated all, with a focus on outerwear. Not the perfectly tailored Saville Row descendant (though that, too, was represented), but parkas, slickers, anoraks, face-covering hoods. These came plasticized and reflective (a trickle-down of haute’s holograms), some with a single giant padded sleeve, others, referencing hazard gear, many in high-tech fabrics to repel whatever harsh forces one might encounter. Yet Galliano believes in glamour and its traditional trappings. Thus, he trapped fanciful fringe beneath the surface of a see-through holographic coat and attached a slipdress (albeit a giant one) to a black stadium jacket. And in a nod to coziness, he morphed a tweed jacket into a big, lopsided Aran sweater. Yet let one wonder about Galliano’s protective persuasion, for choice, no teeter-totter stilettos. Rather, he finished most looks with the weighty footgear introduced during couture, the SMS — short for Security Margiela Sneaker.
The looks fascinated — powerful, aggressive even — but somehow radiating charm; their individual components and complicated constructions sprung from the artistry of a master. However, Galliano is a rare master of something else — magical transportation via fashion. Particularly right now, with woes aplenty, a little such gentle respite would be welcomed indeed. Conscious glamour — perhaps. But from Galliano, never mundane.