Galliano? Margiela? This seemed to be a thoughtless compromise. We all knew John Galliano's sense of fashion, extravagant and grandiose. And thus we feared. Minimalism was indeed not part of his vocabulary... How could he be appointed at the head of the creations for such a sacred place for minimalistic style, where all kind of "too much" was abhorred, where we only stood for the fabric in itself, to magnify simplicity? Galliano appeared to us as the straight opposite. When he showed his first silhouettes for the Artisanal label in London before the couture collections last January, we were not convinced. Ribbons and taffetas did not reach their goal and did not stand in the continuity of a strong historical past. But we were sitting there, in Paris, waiting for his first ready-to-wear défilé. And we were not surprised. We now must take under account that Galliano is reshaping the legendary fashion house, to his own benefit. The Margiela style was entirely redesigned according to the Galliano way, dramatic and strange. Vogue International's Suzy Menkes wrote in her review that "nothing had to do with the original Martin Margiela". Indeed, I couldn't see any link with the first purpose of this house, which was founded to create a new fashion, more scientific than market oriented, more subtle and unique than what we just saw with this Galliano collection.
However the looks he showed were absolutely interesting in the design in itself as well as in the message brought through these weird behaviors. Sexy in their own way, feeling powerful and ready to deal with the city issues. The best items consisted in these gorgeous suede coats, perfectly tailored and so feminine! It seemed the designer was influenced by asylum escapers and that was rather scary. We directly felt Galliano's drama, models walking like mad women, trying not to be seen. Staging is another factor that separates again the former grandiloquent designer and the Maison. Clean, simple, straight cuts were shown in the atelier, with very few press coverage. An insolent, shocking and crazy collection was now presented to a worldwide press.
Perhaps we could have expected much more faithful designs, according to a heavy heritage which can ban creativity indeed. But limiting Galliano's genius is an impossible mission, and so he did what he has always done the best, building garments, exalting femininity in his own way, sorting out the hidden face of each individuality, sometimes it's a mad woman who wishes to escape from the society's rules, sometimes darker inspirations, but always chic and stunning.
John Galliano reaches a point in his career when he faces a primary challenge: is he going to draw a rough shift in the history of the house or will he understand and take under account who the Margiela woman really is?
Written by Hadrien Lacoste
Photos Courtesy of WWD.com