Friday, January 22, 2016

BEAUTY: Clothing--Maison Martin Margiela

When Phoenix-like designer John Galliano rose, redeemed, from his ashes to be appointed Creative Director of Maison Martin Margiela in 2014, it was clear he took over the womenswear line. But I think it is equally clear that Galliano does not have much to do with the house's menswear. This part of the brand is still created by an anonymous collective of designers who have been running the business since the departure of the mysterious, reclusive Margiela in 2009. The mystery of the machinations of the house are not the only unusual thing about MMM. The kind of deconstructionism Margiela and the team have exhibited over the years is just as mysterious. There is something subtle but compelling--even horrifying--about the way pieces of clothing both new and vintage are dissected and stitched together in a Frankenstein way to become completely new garments: an obvious but elusive post-modern approach to clothing design. And this Fall-Winter '16-'17 collection at Paris Fashion Week might be a little more subtle than the typical Margiela collection, but it is all still there: the cummerbund made of fraying slubbed silk, gaffer tape, and jute; a slashed and sleeveless extra-long duffle coat; loosely crocheted trousers with external seams; the bottom half of a sport coat surgically removed and grafted onto a zippered sport top; and hybrid pants with one denim leg and one leather leg. The addition of a motocross, bicycling, and wrestling motif via lycra pieces gave the whole collection an incongruous, unabashed, sexual sense, grafting two different ideas together to make something new, something with friction, something that does not, thankfully, fit into any category.

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