If Maison Margiela (and most brands that span couture to contemporary) is a pyramid, the artisanal collection is at the apex, its vision distilled down the food chain through ready-to-wear and now resort — or avant-première, in the parlance of the house. It was exciting to see how the ideas John Galliano presented last couture season, and during rtw, translated at their most commercial level yet. The “stories” he explored included proportion (exaggerated), optics (trompe l’oeil) and sensuality (suggested) exercised on classic items that ticked the boxes of wearability, novelty and the personal.


Proportion play came via a nice rayon knit trench with an extra large belt and a striped blouse with an amplified tie neck. The trompe l’oeil was found on a quilted leather skirt with a chain belt underneath the leather and a skirt recut as a top. Gowns tastefully revealed flesh via back cutouts or a sheer lace panel placed on the bust. Many of the treatments, such as sequins that could be brushed up or down to create impromptu patterns and a daytime slip dress that could be converted into a gown, could be classified as tricks — sprung from the canon of Margiela — playful but not silly. It was all very chic.