Maison Margiela, Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear

John Galliano for Maison Margiela, Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear

It would take a very long time indeed to describe some of the outfits John Galliano dreamed up at Maison Margiela for Fall—and even then, the words might not help at all. Put simply: It seemed to be an exercise in cutting out pieces of clothing and layering them on top of whole garments. Sometimes only the tracery of seams remained. Nonsensical, you might say—and that’s quite true because Galliano is working at a level where the matter-of-fact language of clothing fails. To piece together what he might be getting at, you have to start opening your eyes: Literally look into the clothes, scan their every angle and texture, and switch on your emotional antennae. It was good to be pushed. This time, his innovation felt less like experimental doodling and more like a fully realized sketch with deep resonances within it.

That it was about America, there could be no doubt. A belted trenchcoat with a bra-top cut into the front turned out to have a message on the back: The Statue of Liberty’s crown was clearly silhouetted in a cutout across the storm flap. (The back view can be seen on the runway retreating in the second photo, just behind the beige pantsuit.) Galliano has never been a political designer. The wavelength he operates on is associative, poetic, and playful; but here was a symbol—liberty—which seemed to stand as a synonym for the creative freedom to mix up metaphors, materials, and fragments of cultures. He’ll look at things from new angles, always. If a furry bag suddenly looks good to him as a hat, then on it goes!

No one asks Galliano for a straightforward look-by-look narrative, but embedded in this collection were references to Marilyn Monroe, the days of the western frontier, blue-collar workers, corporate suiting, the military, and the multiple ethnicities and religions America (and the world) contains. At the beginning, there was Monroe’s oversize sweater, the remnants of Joe DiMaggio’s baseball jacket, and a shadowy blown-up print of her face on a shift dress. Further along: a knitted dress patterned like an American quilt, layered over a dotted organdy dress, and decorated with peacock feathers.

What might have been an over-cheeky mess—this is sometimes the case with Galliano—was calmed down by the presence of so many exceptional, wearable pieces. Along the way, there was a clear view of a pair of jeans with a fabulously sexy high-waist fit, incredible coats, and a brilliant retake on Margiela’s surrealist footwear: boots with half-detached kitten heels. The message, then? Surely a gentle one: that this is (and must remain) an inclusive world. Just one note to Galliano, though: Of 31 girls, there was only one black model on his runway. That is something he (and all designers) needs to rectify.

Text: Sarah Mower
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.