Subversion and humor are aspects of Martin Margiela’s legacy that John Galliano magnified with his ravishing spring collection — a dressy affair that equally exalted the English designer’s theatrical, couture chops.
Could there be a more witty meeting of the two aesthetics than a sculpted black cloqué coat stained with white paint as if the woman had sat on a wet Thonet chair? He repeated the idea with a pleated tennis dress (wet black park bench) and a grand infanta in red (wet gold throne, presumably). You could sense how tickled Galliano must have been to apply Margiela’s conceptual, DIY ideas to his Fifties-flecked ladylike daywear and sinuous evening dresses.
Consider a sculpted peplum jacket or a bourgeois handbag in crackled-paint patterned leather; white kitten shoes with the Achilles heels swollen like avocados, or a trim pantsuit in the color of the original Joker’s catsuit minus the question mark. He gleefully wrapped legs and hips with Saran Wrap; scissored into fancy floral brocade skirts so the petals became a tattered 3-D, and decorated brocade coats with trembling crystal brooches.
While eccentric, the clothes were intensely original in the juxtaposition of dressy and raw fabrics; the offbeat embellishments (shards of mirror hung on chains); and the daring color combos, borrowed from kimonos.
The Japanese theme reached a climax with the finale looks: flaring gowns, kimono jackets and narrow skirt-and-top combos tied with obis, although with a boxy purse in the back in lieu of a bow. That Galliano: He knows what pays the bills these days.