Remembrance is altered by time. When data is transmitted from one mind to another –one era to the next – the truth is belied. Through Maison Margiela’s reflections on the digital age, the Défilé co-ed collection for Spring-Summer 2020 pays reverence to history and the lessons it taught us. In the digital age, our memories are hacked: distorted and trivialised through the chaotic noise of the social media debris. The mind becomes a search engine filtering through the latest impression, while wisdom gained from the past gradually gets buried in the news. Stories of hope, heroines and liberation are forgotten as history draws ever closer to repetition.
Detecting a need for mindfulness, creative director John Galliano prompts a wake-up call, challenging the senses to discern between memory and oblivion; real and unreal. Informed by ideas conceived in the Artisanal ateliers, the collection proposes key pieces rooted in conversations between the past, present and future. Tailoring rendered in the hack print – a motif resembling the accidental slip of a print machine – manifests as heavy tweeds or herringbones from the classic men’s wardrobe. In reality, they are trompe l’oeil prints uncovered by the white ‘hack’ element through which the fabric’s true identity is revealed. The illusion nods at the Artisanal theme of projection. Here, projective filtrage – the impression of light-projected imagery adapted into prints on translucent fabrics – translates into trench coats veiled in printed organza, triggering a sense-obscuring confusion of layers and light.
In a make-do and mend proposal of upcycling, holes – hand-cut or industrialised – riddle coats and dresses. Employing the technique of nomadic cutting, garments magnify and migrate on the body, in supersized trousers morphed into a strapless dress, or a leather trench coat cut into a corset. Elements from uniforms generate memories and associations of comfort: utility jackets appear in transformative form, while knitted vests and jumpers accentuate a co-educational sentiment. Short all-in-ones mutated with Watteau backs recall the eveningwear of a time when glamour, lest we forget, was often tantamount to hope.
Fabrics evoke the textures of the classic men’s wardrobe but are not always what they seem: light cottons and wools appear printed in the optical illusions of tweeds and herringbones, while traditional trench coats are swathed in printed organza. Indications of upcycling materialise in a Glam Slam coat with mattress lining, in a faux leather utility jacket, as well as faux reptile effects that conjure ideas of technology packaging. Tailoring wools are contrasted by materials from noble dressmaking: crin and satin are employed in suits, and taffeta and duchesse satin appear in all- in-ones with Watteau backs. Knitwear features in vests.
Employed in tailoring, the trompe l’oeil hack print makes light cotton or wool resemble the textures of fabrics from the classic men’s wardrobe such as tweeds or herringbones, only to interrupt the mirage with a slip-style white ‘hack’ revealing the true nature of the fabric. Projective filtrage features in coloured trench coats veiled in printed organza that confuses the senses. Holes form a predominant motif, either hand-cut or industrialised, nodding at a contemporary idea of polka dots and a proposal for upcycling. Techniques from haute couture are used in the fusion of all-in-ones with Watteau backs native to high dressmaking. Nomadic cutting signifies the migration of a garment from one part of the body to another such as trousers that become a dress, while flat-cutting appears in jackets that look one-dimensional until worn.
Colours inherent to the humble men’s wardrobe – black, brown, navy, white, beige and grey – are joined by those known from uniforms: olive, moss green and bordeaux. They are elevated by noble colours associated with haute couture and eveningwear, from seafoam to ochre and cinnamon.
Introduced in the Artisanal collection, the Snatched – a new genderless bag by Maison Margiela – debuts in a smaller volume. Taking its name from contemporary slang for good looks, the fold-over pochette features cut asymmetric angles and a handle through which the hand snatches on to it. The bag appears in red patent bridle leather and white calfskin. The 5AC, a Maison Margiela classic, enters into the collection in faux crocodile tan leather. Knee-high boots with curved heels – in black or brown patent leather or white-painted faux python – build on those from the Artisanal collection alongside Mary-Janes in black, brown or white patent leather. Sailor collars upcycled from blankets feature as scarves, while hats pay homage to millinery native to haute couture.