John Galliano is a storyteller, a master of creating a narrative and presenting characters that define Maison Margiela throughout the ages. Naturally, this is exactly how the House’s Co-Ed Fall 2023 ready-to-wear runway show unfolded as it closed out Paris Fashion Week last night.
Blending Haute Couture (which commences today with Schiaparelli in Paris) with RTW garments, Galliano’s story was one of 1950s to 1980s tales, harnessed by punk references. Working with Pendleton, wool plaid checks appear in shirts, cardigans, rompers and more, while the use of silk gazar, lamé brocade, changeant cotton, neoprene, tulle, silk, silk organza, velvet, mesh, lace, taffeta, and even bin liners shows Galliano’s penchant for the extravagance. Only, under the Maison Margiela umbrella, opulence is not overt.
Rather, it’s intelligent. With punk backing the entire collection, it’s easy to expect the collection to be raw and unfiltered. However, a Mickey Mouse-bearing scoop neck waffle top is perfectly distressed on the hem, paired with a Pendleton wool check overcoat lined in the House’s signature tan-colored cotton. A fascinator made from bin liners emulates bunny ears and adds the Couture twist, while black sparkling tabi derby shoes on foot remind you of the show you’re witnessing.
As we learned from the late, great Dame Vivienne Westwood, punk does not have to be all-out anarchy. Instead, sheer skirts are draped atop fishnet tights but worn with a structural, popped-collar faded checkered top, whereas next, a cowboy jacket in canvas is pinned at the cuff, fringed, appliquéd, and coats a distressed ensemble comprising more fishnets, this time worn as trousers over a teeny tiny pair of leather shorts.
Softening all the hard edges are looks bearing cream cardigans, sprouting tufts of wool like floral badges. Tailoring finished with Maison Margiela’s signature unfinished look actually nods to high-Couture design, as if it’s destined to be made-to-measure but is in fact a pure styling element.
What Galliano does it take historical codes, archaic fashion tropes, and storylines and applies them to be relevant for today’s world. The show, which you can see in the gallery above, is the perfect embodiment of this.
For other standout PFW moments, take a look at Bode FW23.
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