Coming, the opening trench with a scooped out sweetheart neckline at John Galliano‘s Maison Margiela show felt like a happy sartorial hybrid of Galliano’s Savile Row roots (he worked for Tommy Nutter while at design school) and Margiela’s deconstructed m.o. Going, the coat featured a cut-out of the Statue of Liberty’s iconic crown. Ok, let’s not waste any time. But rather than Lady Liberty making a rallying point, Galliano stated in his show notes that “Iconography is founded in collective emotions created by the memories which unite us and give us hope.” In other words, take a beat and think about our shared experiences.
There were nods to another famous American lady, Marilyn Monroe, seen in a great oversized black sweater and perhaps felt in the innocent-sexy white tulle dress. Galliano tapped into American standards a few weeks ago for his Artisanal couture collection, and he carried those sentiments, motifs and details through to ready-to-wear. Not just seen on the Monroe and Liberty ideas, but in the workwear, fleecy-shearling zipped dress, faded jeans and a navy polka dotted dress that as deconstructed and reworked as it was still had the faint whiff of ’40s- and ’50s-era nostalgia clinging to it.
On his couture runway in January, one of the standout looks was an ethereal coat covered with a large portrait of a woman rendered in black tulle — a collaboration with artist Ben Shine. Here, a woman’s upturned face could be seen highly pixellated on a sheath with a wisp of nude tulle. Up close, an abstract print thanks to the pixels. Far away, she’s got her eye on you.
The varsity jacket is iconic like Monroe, just in a different way. It’s instantly recognized as American. No need to wrap it in red-white-and-blue or stars and stripes. Or for that matter, as seen here, to give it anything other than sleeves, a zipper and a basic skeletal frame. The series of varsity jackets in various degrees of deconstruction were Galliano paying homage to Margiela. For Margiela, taking clothes apart was never about destroying them, it was always about uncovering truths, peeling back the layers to demystify and let people in on the secrets of the craft. It was a celebration of design and clothing. For fall, taking apart a baseball jacket was a way to rebuild it as part of a plaid business suit — both instantly recognizable silhouettes to many.
Throughout, Galliano tweaked the classics, adding and subtracting, embroidering and flipping things on their heads. Or rather the models’ heads — bags were worn Beefeater-style as hats. Coats, skirts, dresses and accessories were reimagined colourfully and yet Galliano never lost sight of their basic essence.
By Nandini D’Souza Wolfe
From: Harper’s BAZAAR US