Maison Margiela Was a Left-Field Adventure

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That bag. The oversize, boxy white satchel held by the first of Maison Margiela's models at today's show might lead you to think that John Galliano is headed in an accessories-driven direction. After all, it looked like the trappings of a serious lady, as did the very-un-cloven-hooved stilettos. Yes, the show had covetable extras, but they came with a Galliano twist — said bag was accessorized with a blue beehive and a leopard-trimmed coat fit for a rockabilly Margot Tenenbaum, while smaller bags were strapped directly onto the models — as if Araki designed backpacks.

Still, the collection didn't ignore the clothes, which at today's show seemed to be divided into two distinct chapters. The first section was more straightforwardly Margiela, which is to say falling on the DIY side of avant-garde — silvery Jetsons gloves, fishnet details, and layered skirts with tinsel-like flyaway pieces. In the second half, Galliano explored the Asian-inspired silhouettes he's often been drawn to over the course of his career. (Think of his obi- and kimono-heavy spring 1994 São Schlumberger show or his Madame Butterfly outing for Dior couture, spring 2007. ) But he seemed to be updating them so they didn't feel quite so traditional — thus, we saw jackets with liquidlike textures and hobble skirts accentuated with bows. Restraint — not in the sense of holding back, which is decidedly not his style, but in the literal sense — has always been an obsession of the designer's. So the emphasis on ties and the somewhat restrictive silhouettes were a sign that Galliano continues to explore the motifs that have always interested him, while taking full advantage of the magical Margiela workshop he now presides over.

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