How often do you use your phone? How often do you look at a screen? You’re certainly looking at one as you read this. There are many theorists who have documented the human race’s entering of a post-human age. Many argue that we are becoming so attached to technology, predominantly our phones, that they are becoming part of us. Part of our form, an appendage. Well, it seems that John Galliano is also commenting on this new world, as for his Maison Margiela Artisanal A/W 18 collection, he investigated a new tribe - the Neo-digital Natives.
Shoes that were dramatically platformed and in some cases given the tabi toe, were banded with a stocking and then topped around the ankle with a chromatic appendage, which in turn had a phone attached to it. Yes, phones on adjustable clasps! The ultimate hand-attachment now literally an accessory. An iPhone anklet! Screens were also added to the backs of giant rucksacks in taupes and nude tones, and lolled as the models walked. Each screen showed a close-up of the make-up or the finish of garments that walked. Brilliant.
The rucksacks themselves were ultra-large and satchel-like, as if each model was to commit to a long exploration. Apt, that the two key words Galliano cited in his latest podcast (a platform more designers should utilise) in reference to this collection were ‘Nomadic Glamour’. Other aspects that alluded to this traveller, or nomad, were plastic interlocking chainmail skirts for protection, giant padded jackets that wrapped around the body doubling as bedding or coat and the lack of button or fastening throughout for quick removal - Velcro was utilised instead. Stocking like fabrics also strapped the individual in, wrapping over and around each look so that arms couldn’t be lifted, as if bonded in for the ride. VR headsets in a shiny blue were also present and implied that perhaps the wearer need not go far to travel. That ‘dressing-in-haste’ that Galliano has been exploring for the past few seasons really comes to a head in this collection. Commenting on the got-to-go, got to have it now attitude us tech-generation have.
As for the glamour? It seemed that Galliano was hinting at a glamour we only see through screen; a morphed, warped glamour that’s filtered by technology. As models walked wrapped in foams, felts, and what looked like fibreglass insulation, they were mutated into giant forms, some busty and curvaceous, some giant and cumbersome. A new glamour perhaps. This use of upholstery furnishing, felt, bin liners, foam and stocking, was true Margiela style, while the colour palette of ‘MaxFactor lipstick’ coral, glossy black and shocking pink were quintessentially Galliano.
Shapes are pure, seams diminished. Once again things are not as the seem as cape becomes coat, puffer-jacket exposes feather, sleeves are added, removed, misplaced. One wants to squish and touch and play with the tactility within this collection; it’s soft, protective, inviting and defensive. Most of all, it’s transformative! The future of couture is with Galliano at Margiela.