Why is everyone referencing America? Calvin Klein is living the American dream, Moschino was Jackie Kennedy from out of space, Raf Simons was a NYC nineties drug-dream. Gucci has just turned to the NY branding, ASAI, Tom Ford, Coach, I could go on. It’s an all American inspiration-fest. It seemed Galliano had caught the stars and stripes buzz too, as there were nods to the US of A at Margiela this season - through a dégradé lens, of course.
Americanisms came through in the Lynchian Twin Peaks soundtrack and Wild West music - the latter given a sped-up hyper-energetic twist. Cowboy-esque fringing was trapped between translucent layers of oversized sleeveless jackets and sheeny macs, pendulating down arm and back. But why these American accents? It’s no secret that Galliano is a fan of the American dream, but the eerily upbeat music, over-sized shapes and multiple variations of protective headgear, felt a signifier of something a little dark. Yes, the Brits in the audience looked at those parkas and rompers as the perfect solution to the snow-storm currently governing the UK, but one also thought of the dangers across the pond that we might need protecting from. Something slightly dystopian was at play here.
This was particularly pertinent in the accessories. A comment on the post-human, jewellery mimicked the merging of technology and flesh, as canary yellow rubberised ear caps and chrome reverse hoops with diamond, looped and latched onto lobe. Neon ponytails by Eugene Soulieman lay languid down models backs and seemed to merge with the aforementioned fringing - there was no telling where hair began and fringing ended. Another technological nod was one of the show-stopping pieces: a blazer that began as a blazer, but which transformed in an almost pixelated fashion into fisherman’s knit - as if dip-dyed in another material. Layered satchel bags piled high on models’ backs mimicked a giant backpack for the bi-coastal traveller. This piling on felt like a fun dig at the ‘more is more’ loading of bags on handbags that we have seen at Louis Vuitton, Coach and Dior Homme.
Technology and Americana assumptions aside, this was by no means a doom and gloom collection. New iridescent Glam bags (yes please!) and sheeny oil slick colourings were a continuation of haute couture; these opalescent tones don’t need a flash to shine. Giant puffer-cuffs on select right arms looked as though the Glam bag had fused onto the sleeve, and holographic tones and glimmers of organza and tulle were met with a magpie response from the audience. Margiela’s deconstruction and 'dressing in reverse' commentary is not a new concept for the brand but still feels exciting and genuinely new in the world of fashion. It's relaxed but glamorous, it's humble but eccentric, it's classically Margiela yet challenging house codes. It's quite simply, brilliant.