Maison Margiela´s mutinous mode
Maison Margiela staged a hybrid runway and fragrance launch on Wednesday morning, a timely gender-bending, transgressive fashion statement and a reminder of fashion´s ability to champion fresh ways of thinking.
Both the show and scent were named Mutiny, and the casting and “genderless fashion” would definitely seem pretty mutinous to most conservative eyes.
Pre-show, a great black and white video – the latest podcast from Galliano for the maison - was projected on the white walls of the Grand Palais. Starring folks like Willow Smith, singer Princess Nokia, model Molly Blair and model Hanne Gaby Odiele, the noted intersex icon.
“We´re willing to endure pain.” “I can break rock, I´m that strong,” read some of the taglines seen in punky graphics in the video. Then the runway action kicked off: brilliantly cut felt jackets and ponchos, with all sorts of laser cut inserts, notable herringbone tweed mess jackets; flowing oversized trench ponchos.
Plus, all the accessories were striking, from the giant stovepipe hats with inserts, to the cut-out cowboy boots to the beautiful white patent leather platform sandals that reeked of Margiela DNA.
All this could have looked like a political pastiche, but thanks to some great cutting, novel proportions, crafty staging and creative director John Galliano´s iconoclastic touches it was actually a great show.
Tis true that quite often it was difficult to be sure of the exact gender of each model. Was that a man or a woman, wearing the extended tuxedo coat? Or the incredible combo of skin-tight turquoise legging, cut out cowboy boots, tweed hacking jacket all topped by a massive floral print jacquard bow – guy or girl? One of a half dozen huge bows that were a leitmotif of this co-ed collection. Hybrid fashion for hybrid people.
“Exploring fit, cut and drape without considerations for gender for women´s and men´s wardrobes,” explained the program notes. There was enormous applause at the finale, as much for the cause as the clothes. Galliano, as he is wont since arriving at Margiela, did not take a bow.
Post-show, a huge LED screen perched on a truck outside the Grand Palais projected the ad for the new scent. Bringing Mutiny out onto the street, in a brilliant piece of street marketing.
Galliano is certainly not the only designer exploring the outer limits of genderless fashion. Alessandro Michele, to name one, has been pretty busy too. But The Englishman´s stylistic experiments were undertaken with an affection and a curiosity for their subject that made this a truly admirable moment. Fashion fulfilling a very useful social function, and looking darned good too.
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