‘Défilé’ Co-ed Collection
Degeneration is a decadent process through which an entity is reduced to its purest core. At Maison Margiela, collections are composed through a pyramidical structure where ideas developed in the Artisanal ateliers filter into consolidated form. For the Autumn/Winter 2019 Défilé co-ed collection, creative director John Galliano induces the digital decadence identified in the recent Artisanal show and proposes a purified sense of restraint. From one collection to the other, this image of degeneration is demonstrated through the reduction of garments themselves.
The overstimulation created by a computer-generated culture of artifice alters reality and confuses fabrication for truth. With cyclical centennial timing, a new era of decadence sets in: excess inevitably followed by decay. Oversaturated by impressions, the millennial generations native to life in cyberspace begin to search for authenticity. Through the evolved language established at Maison Margiela, John Galliano employs decadent cutting to reduce familiar garments to their most authentic form – their core, their silhouette, their proportion – retaining only the memory of what once was.
Appropriating the inappropriate, traditional wardrobe staples fragmentise and migrate to new areas of the body. A flannel coat transforms into a dress, an equestrian trouser mutates into a bustier with a skirt, and a faux leather trench coat morphs into shorts with decortiqué hems. Trousers cut open and flattened become skirts, dresses or capes, their voids filled in with fabric. Flat cutting appears in jackets and dresses brought to life in strategic cuts from which three- dimensional shapes are raised and back-panelled in contrasting lining.
Through degeneration, conventionally gender-specific garments become truly genderless, heralding the combinaison: a top and bottom in one. Excess rears its head in the decadent symbol of pink flamingos, illustrated in the flamingo sequence print fabricated entirely from computerised textures and forms. Exercised in the juxtaposing panels of black or grey outerwear, its sensory overload highlights the contrast between overflow and degeneration. Through this inverted excess, Maison Margiela proposes a new idea of purity.
The idea of degenerating garments down to their purest core embraces the use of humble fabrics from the classic men’s wardrobe. Here, herringbone, flannel, equestrian and cavalry twills, Harris tweed, felt and coats created in collaboration with Mackintosh represent a feeling of authenticity. Wadding overlaid with chiffon, in outerwear evoking Maison Margiela’s Glam Slam bag, links to the idea of nomadic glamour. The honest character of these materials is contrasted by the over-satiation of a flamingo sequence motif made up of pink flamingos and artificial textures and structures, woven in jacquard as well as printed on nylon. Echoing a sense of excess, embroideries composed of beads, pearls and sequins adorn lace, a glamorous element reflected in plume trims. Organza features in overlay on chunky knitwear and cotton poplin shirting. Next to elements of chiffon, duchesse and tulle, it cements the Maison Margiela codes of unconscious glamour and reverse dressing.
The decadent cutting first proposed in the Spring/Summer 2019 Artisanal collection informs techniques. As classic garments are deconstructed, their components migrate on the body: a trouser becomes a cape, a coat morphs into a short, another coat transforms into a halter-neck dress. Employing the Maison Margiela code of shadow play, one garment is evoked within another through stitching or the placement of components associated with other parts of the body. In flat-cut jackets and skirts, strategic cuts form three-dimensional shapes raised and back-panelled in contrasting lining. Capitonnage jackets – one bonded to bias-cut chiffon – bring to mind Maison Margiela’s signature Glam Slam bag. Reflecting the artisanal vocabulary established by John Galliano at the house, techniques such as decortiqué, unconscious glamour, reverse dressing, dressing in haste, anonymity of the lining, nomadic cutting and the memory of garments are intrinsic parts of the collection’s genetics. Keeping in line with the gender-nonconformist philosophy of the house, every look was fitted without attention to gender.
The palette sees a contrast between excess and degeneration. A multi-coloured sequence motif features bright pink flamingos among a sea of oversaturated hues. It is juxtaposed by the authenticity and purity of blacks, greys and ivory.
Jewellery draws on the futuristic language of cyberspace in silver-plated palladium display rings and cuffs worn on gloves featuring the flamingo sequence motif. Echoing those codes, necklaces and ear cuffs constructed in the image of flattened bicycle chains also draw on the image of inverse excess. Detached collars in flamingo sequence printed neoprene with clear material detailing appear inverted. Mary Janes draw on the unnerving idea of magnified doll shoes introduced in the Artisanal collection, and appear in rubber, leather and patent leather. The Louis 22, a square- toe heeled boot in flamingo sequence print satin, nods at the shoes of Louis XIV and further takes its name from Maison Margiela’s numeric code for shoes. Finally, a round-toe heeled boot features in leather. Alongside the Glam Slam and the NDN, the collection launches a new take on the existing 5AC bag in a fabric that reacts to UV rays and changes colour accordingly.