Thursday, June 4, 2015

Maison Margiela Fall 2015

So first of all, you may want to make a cup of tea because this post is quite LONG but I wanted a holistic approach when discussing the John Galliano takeover at Maison Martin Margiela. Unfortunately it seems the designer's fall from grace was not permanent, and the fashion community has forgiven him for his anti-Semitic rant four years ago. While he was undoubtedly the best person for the job, when an artist is problematic in their personal life or views and has influence within the public then their art is devoid of artistic value- end of story. Therefore, I found myself conflicted when I found I liked the artistic flair and overall weirdness of this collection which was produced by someone who I found distasteful. I suppose I am writing this post for myself more than anyone else but I felt I needed to clear the air or my own thoughts of all this mad confusion. He's like a character who popped out of Alice in Wonderland sharing the same mad bluntness of the Mad Hatter. I admire his designs, which are by nature an extension of him but for someone to be so horrible, well it's inexcusable really.

I felt it necessary to include Galliano's past social faux pas as part of the pre-face for those who were unaware of the incident and those too young to recall it. Tavi once said, "for every artist you admire, there is something horrible about them or that they did"- and really truer words have never been spoken. I consider it important to remember the misdemeanors of those who we idolize. Galliano has blended the image of the Maison Margiela house into his own image, with an outcry from many commentators proclaiming it was too much and far removed from the previous aesthetic. I would agree with them on that part. It is distinctly different from anything before it or indeed anything that will be produced in the future and there's something so deliciously exciting about that. On the other hand, loud makeup strange woolen hats and an array of fluffy mules were probably not envisioned in the lead up to this collections unveiling. This was in part due to Galliano's secrecy and refusal of many interviews prior to fashion week.  

While I don't think anyone could have predicted this season's beauty looks, I for one find them transfixing for all the right reasons. However, given Maison Martin Margiela's previous collections many proponents were opposed to the overt use of popping neon tones, the painterly application of lipstick and complex use of eyeshadow. One website was even so insubordinate as to ask, 'Did Beauty Just Go Ugly?' (to which I reply "beauty is subjective, nothing is permanent, we are all going to die). As a whole the crimped hair, black sheer and florals kind of remind me of runway trends from 2007 and 2009 which I love for both ironic and genuine reasons. It goes beyond that and I could consider the eye makeup the greatest I have ever seen although something which I am beyond intimidated to try for myself. What brushes would you even use to create something as fine-tuned as winged eyeliner in a variety of colours? I can't comprehend the amount of hours the models spent getting their makeup done, to say nothing of the fastidious application of hair elastics around nude tights and swimming caps.

What I enjoyed most was the emulation of teenage angst conveyed by the posture of hunched over models perpetuating what is typically called insecure body language. Amongst all these notions of beauty were the models whose emotions were amplified ten-fold thanks to the stunning eyeshadow I mentioned earlier. It was the perfect setting to a highly unusual but fantastical collection. Upon inspection of each piece in isolation I am sure I would regard them as perfectly ordinary, no matter how beautifully made and except for the hairy mules (which I will get to in a moment) for now I have no inclination to buy the collection. That seems like an odd statement coming from a fashion blogger- almost every collection I write about has the pretense that I would practically die to own something from it but this is more of an anthropological fascination. Fashion tribes represent a kind of extreme in terms of beauty and aesthetic and they are worth noting and comparing to the mundane nature of everyday life.

I can't recall a Fall collection within recent memory which contains this much sheer and a lack of coats, despite these Winter staples being used to open the show along with a dreamy array of gloves. While wintery accessories are far removed from the minds of many living in America and Europe, memories of the record-breaking weather of last year will quickly prompt action from consumers. It's all a matter of when really. I did enjoy the reprieve and found the use of black suede jackets to be refreshing amidst a backdrop of 1970s tan fringed concoctions from every man and his dog. I suppose a restrained approach and feverish use of sheer was in part due to Galliano's provocative vision for the collection as well as a global consumer market. One thing that will be on everyone's minds, aside from those outrageous beauty looks to inspire the ages were furry mules with rubbery glitter soles on the shoe's interior. Those are the kinds of shoes I bet Madame Z from The Grand Budapest Hotel was buried in, and frankly she is the epitome of good taste.

It took me a good twenty minutes to locate the Details images from the website but it was all worth while and probably would have been much quicker were I not thoroughly exhausted. Writing about fashion is still coming easily but after spending long hours in the lab, and spending most of my time on the microscope it is slowly beginning to take it's toll- particularly on my eyes it would seem. Enough bellyaching and feeling sorry for myself! From these photos we can see the imprints of buttons submerged in swathes of material creating tiny ghostly silhouettes amongst a sea of mustard and black vinyl in the strangest of places. Lime green petals which form intricate neck corsages (I don't even care that that is the wrong term right now) tack tufts of crimped hair in place. Crimped hair was never really cool (unless you had a zig zag pattern in which case you were an actual mermaid!) but it seems Galliano has used this to his advantage. From afar it creates texture and volume but is simple enough for someone like me, who doesn't need to straighten her hair, to understand. 

Ideally, this collection would be worn by a gang of vicious, middle-aged art teachers who gave really bad advice to all their students but dressed impeccably yet were unafraid to experiment. One of the art teachers at my school dyed her hair purple and consequently wore matching outfits or contrasting greens or oranges and she looked like a total badass. To this day I know nothing of her teaching abilities or which medium she preferred, I was an honest to goodness science student focused on attaining the highest A Levels/ SAT equivalent. Given the subjective nature of art I deemed it to risky to study during my senior year of high school which is something I now invariably regret. I could dedicate a whole portfolio to fashion collections, but have no idea how and what medium I would appropriate these ideas. High school is something I hated but I loved to hate. I still like to imagine certain people within my school as exaggerations of real people and in a way idealise their style and mannerisms.  

On closer inspection some of the swimming caps I identified turned out to be wigs turned inside out and worn precariously atop the head. I'm both intrigued and extremely grossed out by the texture of really cheap wigs. I suppose all wigs are made from similar materials bar those made from real human hair but there is a whole spectrum of quality to which I am currently unaware. It's somewhat of an alternative to hats but I am also eying some of those bright orange berets which I am sure Shirley Kurata is well aware of and already onto. She too reminds me of an art teacher but she has such a gentle demeanor and quiet dignity about her which seems to contradict the temperaments demanded in a teaching occupation. I do like her approach to personal style as a way of compensating over a quiet nature. You don't have to be an extrovert to dress loud. There are other ways of announcing presence as a greater extension of how we interact in an environment. 

It will be interesting to see whether this eccentric approach to ready-to-wear will be sustained and for how long Galliano will remain the creative director for Maison Margiela and what direction he will take the brand to next. Of course, this is very much dependent on public perception as well as the reception of the collection he designed but I think all signs point to yes. Free newspapers will devour and dissect these extreme runway looks for satirical purposes (and I say let them have their fun). The reiteration of these images simply amplifies the quasi-shock value of the collection, and Galliano's reputation as a craftsman and creator. While these looks are exaggerations, there are elements within them that can be borrowed and re-imagined by a novice (such as myself). Over the coming months I will be enveloped in a series of different layers, racking my brains for new and interesting outfits but every now and then I will crave colour. I think makeup will be something I approach as an outsider in the way shown at Maison Margiela. Minus the inverted wigs but carrying the same fierceness.  

Images 1-30 via Photo: Yannis Vlamos /, photos 31- 68 via Photo: Marcus Tondo /

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