be interesting to know what, if anything, John Galliano felt he had to prove
with his first collection for Maison Martin Margiela. Deconstruction was always
one of Margiela's central precepts, and Galliano proved himself more than a
match with his own efforts, especially with a postscript that saw the models
parading by in pinned-together toiles, a revelatory way to illuminate the
creative processes behind the collection. Minimalism was another Margiela
signature, Galliano again proving his mastery with an androgynous black suit
and a ravishing series of simple red gowns. The Mao-collared one, in velvet,
swooped daringly low in the back. Some fearless starlet could make her name in
such a dress during awards season.
Humor often bubbled under a Margiela collection, with unlikely found
elements—the residue of human civilization—brought in to add some wit or
dimensionality. Here, Galliano trailed toy cars across the collaged landscape
of a tiny suede sheath. He used shells to make three-dimensional
Arcimboldo-like faces on the front of dresses. He even referenced the house's
flashy showgirl side, with leopard-print accents and metal fringing on short
Such incongruity was a tool for Margiela because it provoked new ways to look
at the familiar. To be reminded of that here was further proof that Galliano has
indeed found a new home. There was none of the old grandstanding when he took a
tentative blink-and-you-missed-it bow in the white coat that is the uniform of
the Margiela atelier, but the show itself spoke to no diminution in his talent.
He's back, everyone cried at show's end, palpable excitement
overwhelming the sense of relief.