What a show! Margiela menswear was a rousing success. The first of the menswear offerings designed solely under John Galliano, this show offered a new synergy that perhaps was missing from previous collections. Galliano, Margiela - Margiela, Galliano, this collection confirmed that the two are most definitely in symbiosis.
The Musée de l'Armée location was given the Margiela makeover with typical stark white in addition to a bright yellow glyph that spanned the majority of the floor space and up the walls. The jolt of yellow, one that feels familiar for Margiela, felt joyous, emoji-like even, and was continued throughout the show. Most notably on a knockout faux shearling and puffa hybrid jacket.
Galliano had called upon the typical tropes we love to look for in a Margiela collection and had given them his whimsical and marvellous twists. Degradation, dressing in haste, appropriating menswear staples, all here, but nothing on offer was as it seemed. Jean jackets were given a PVC punch, an orange knitted coat was, in fact, rubberised, cotton jackets were given a waxy texture and a bomber jacket was a hybrid of both Artisanal jacket and trench. These were truly brilliant. One wanted to jump up and touch the garments, see the craftsmanship.
There were wonderful shoes here too. Puffa-style slippers with drawstring fastenings came in neutral tones, the Tabi boot was back with a chunky heel and a rumoured deeper split, new sandals appeared as though plucked straight from the fastenings of a snowboard, and the new SMS trainer (Security Margiela Sneaker) came in a choice of primary colours.
A PVC trench coat over another camel trench was a revival from previous womenswear seasons and felt a reminder of who it was that began the plastic coat over other coat aesthetic. Another comical twist was the return of the Glam Slam bag, this time with a labelled strap, the font and format not too dissimilar to OFF-WHITE’s offering of the same nature. But of course, this was no copycat - merely a humorous quip to a peer.
Molly Bair, the only female model, appeared mid-show in a masculine boxy suit jacket across which hung a bag made from the inlay of her suit. Her arrival seemed to cement the gender-neutrality of the collection but also the re-referencing from previous womenswear and Artisanal shows throughout. Her look was, for me, one of the most covetable.
This was the best of Martin Margiela’s house mannerisms, with Galliano’s brilliant flair the cherry on top.