Throughout these past 3 seasons, John Galliano has mainly focused on three major themes, namely retro-futurism, Oriental-inspired couture and the cyber/steam punk sub-culture, often intertwining two of them together. For the Maison Margiela Couture spring/summer 2016 collection though, he decided to finely blend all those ingredients together, in a crescendo of layers, fabrics and unconventional details that will surely elicit contrasting emotions.
Staged in the suggestive white corridor at Hôtel des Invalides in Paris, white also served as the lineup’s opening theme, as seen by the first models who strutted down the catwalk. Although being classic in silhouettes and color palette, those very first looks confirm that we always should expect the unexpected when it comes to Maison Margiela. Even the opening outfit, which at first sight could look like a plain simple white coat-dress, unveils some intriguing details, namely asymmetrical layers of white fabrics that give us the hint what we are about to see is not a plain Jane-approved material. Little by little, those deconstructed layers evolve into more unconventional accents, such as metallic materials, fur collars and sheer fabrics that are just a melting pot of decades, different styles and fashion movements.
Without even having the time to get accustomed to Galliano’s almost dystopian little detailing, we suddenly get into the heart of the collection thanks to a one-sleeved white outfit with ruffled fabric inserts that with the retro designed patterns interrupt the lineup’s opening theme and officially introduce us to Maison Margiela Couture’s futuristic side. If I had to describe it with just three words, ‘controlled deconstructed chaos’ may give you at least a decent overview of what the entire collection is all about.
Instead of only focusing on one or two decades, translating them in Margiela’s signature futuristic looks, Galliano took all the things he loves about the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and Nineties and put them together, basically leaving anything by chance. In the same way, instead of only displaying one print at a time, he chose to showcase his patchworking skills, combining botanical, striped, squared and even abstract prints all together. Among them, however, those that seem to appeal to him the most are the looks that exude a clear retro scent, as they also create a better contrasting theme with the lineup’s futuristic appeal.
Aside from the vast amount of metallic materials, Galliano also experimented with thick embroidered fabrics, such as brocade, the rich silky nature of which, alongside its intricate motifs, helped give volume and personality to the otherwise not-so-remarkable looks. Puffed shoulders, balloon skirts and sumptuous dramatic looks prove Galliano’s terrific tailoring skills, which make him capable of jumping from one silhouette to another without downgrading the quality of his creations.
While brocades surely add a lavish touch to most of the outfits, sheer and metallic fabrics create some sort of magic too, as they make everything look both weightless and sharp-pointed at the same time. While retro-futurism and the punk subculture’s references are solid clear, motifs recalling the Oriental culture are way subtler. Besides offering some kimono-sleeved blouses, golden fabrics and geisha-inspired dresses, the Maison Margiela Couture spring 2016 collection doesn’t seem to be too seduced by the Eastern side of the world.
However, if we look close enough, it is indeed possible to admire makeup artist McGrath’s astounding efforts to give each one of the models a distinctive look that thanks to Bowie-inspired graphic liners, fair-colored complexions and matte lipsticks, not only celebrated Eastern fashion, but also the decade that officially put the White Duke in the Hall of the world’s most talented artists. Rocker mullets, shiny bangs, sharp cuts, pastel braids and airbrushed boots with quirky designs completed the conquest.
Photos courtesy of Vogue