With the return of live shows to Paris Fashion Week, in spectacular locations and with imaginative formats, it’s hard to muster the same enthusiasm for Zoom previews, downloading press releases and clicking on a YouTube link.
After watching only a few minutes of Maison Margiela’s frenetic Olivier Dahan film — let’s call it the music-video version of a feature-length story screened during couture — one yearned to see the clothes well lit on a runway to better discern the silhouettes, drink in all the details and appreciate the rugged, humble and shredded materials that creative director John Galliano employed.
Was that really a tea towel repurposed as a neckerchief, and the lining of coats?
Galliano riffed on the same cast of characters as last July — a band of young fishermen and women with a yen for buccaneer style, glossy thigh-high waders and cardboard crowns. They were battling a scourge during couture, but for ready-to-wear, they just wanna have fun, crank up the ghetto blaster and flirt with each other.
The collection often felt wintry, with lots of loden greatcoats and heavy flannel shirt jackets with a military air, and a whiff of Paul Harnden. Some woolen coats had bits of jeans jackets melded into the fronts using a technique dubbed “placage.”
While other designers spoke of “box fresh” garments this season, Galliano favors weather-beaten ones that bear “the trace of time” through enzyme and stonewash treatments, according to the house. Meanwhile, thick herringbone is “bird pecked” to smithereens for an unusual dress revealing a red lining, and a bra-like top with gleaming rows of silver studs.
Galliano is a master at creating new textures and building up narrative in garments, layering colorful tulle over chic wool cocoon coats and then embroidering the kind of feathers you find on fishing lures. (These were a nod to young environmentalists who fish rubbish out of city rivers and canals with magnets.)
One of the most arresting looks in the film is a long, padded, off-white coat sheltering a lining of silver embroideries, accessorized with yellow Tabi-toe mary janes. Oh to see a model clutching it for warmth on a windswept Paris runway!