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Show Report

Show Report: Maison Margiela A/W 17 Womenswear

by Lucy Norris on 2 March 2017

Lucy Norris reports on the Maison Margiela A/W 17 show.

Lucy Norris reports on the Maison Margiela A/W 17 show.

A case study in the theoretical underpinnings of Jacques Derrida, this collection brought back to life the concept of deconstruction for 2017. Everyone is doing deconstruction as an aesthetic, but few are doing it with heart. Galliano is flexing his postmodern muscles, and leaping into the caged construction - seen so often within the seventies and eighties collections of Kawakubo, Westwood and Gaultier. 

Derrida used present and absent components to challenge modernist notions. Undulating with never ending questions, irony, confusion - and general upheaval - this was a deconstructionist's way of using technique to destroy fashion and conventionality. Galliano's position this season isn't necessarily anarchic - but it's full of something much more radical: joie de vivre. In an industry where so many designers think that a Vetements re-churning of the design classics - of trench, hoodie or suit - needs to be met with a near apathetic nonchalance, the unbridled joy within which Galliano holds fashion is palpable - and refreshing. 

From the first look, Galliano injected negative space into a trench coat via window pane cut outs. If you looked really closely, you could also catch sight of a pseudo-Burberry check. Like a papery canvas, the trench is a great starting point for any line of postmodern enquiry. The show notes saw Galliano use the word 'décortiqué', a French word which translates as a peeling away, a dissection. Here - like with Martin Margiela's designs in the nineties - it was the structure, seams and fundamental construction of a piece that was so often revealed. In typical collage-style, varsity jackets were both deconstructed and mish-mashed. Their backs were stripped to reveal a black cage - and interior panels of Harris tweed. Meanwhile, long skirts saw negative space create a wiggly kind of energy and movement. Empty spaces were continued into the heels of shoes, seeing Galliano's recent love affair with the surreal continue for another season.

John Galliano has been talking recently about unconscious glamour. This came through in embroidered squiggles of cotton that looked like an artist had doodled on the models' hair.  A pair of incredible green gloves were appliquéd with a bricolage montage of buttons and colourful string. Flouro threads were woven into jacquard coats. Whilst peacock feathers and barely there deconstructed 'Buffalo' hats evoked a historical mash up of Malcolm McLaren hanging out in the 19th century opium dens of New York's Lower East Side. The fact that this eponymous piece of McLaren headgear was inspired by his travels in Africa and Peru, could go somewhere to adding some further context to some of the other pieces within the collection. 

Wool coats with oversized gold pins had somewhat of the Westwood pirate about them - or the Galliano revolutionary, courtesy of his 'Les Incroyables' Graduate collection of 1984. What a collection - what a legacy. Here in the year 2017, Galliano knows this kind of theatrical play is only possible if there is a highly profitable accessories and perfume business behind it all. This season, he placed the Maison Margiela 5AC handbag on models' heads. That's not just unconscious glamour - that's conscious marketing know-how.

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