vor 4 years

Maison Margiela represents freedom of creation and an appreciation for beauty in the mundane as much as in the ornate.


Before sustainability was trending on panels. Before sustainability was profitable. Before it was so drastically obviously needed… Margiela was already paving the way. Margiela began reusing fabrics and reappropriating household items, utilising New York street finds as various tools within his creations. Not only did he display this upcycled approach on the runway, literal trash graced the bodies on his very first couture collection in 2012. It was a jolt to haute couture followers and his devotees. For some, it was palpable energy: a sprinkling of cheekiness and playfulness and an appreciation for a utilitarian, socially-responsible approach to fashion. However some found it jarring and disrespectful, considered it nothing to be shown, sandwiched between traditional powerhouse collections like Chanel and Valentino.

In hindsight, these earlier couture collections of Maison Margiela solidified his standing as an artist. The house represents freedom of creation, appreciation for beauty in the mundane and overlooked, as much as in the ornate: a beacon of rebellion in an industry that otherwise places value in opulence. Margiela places value on craftsmanship and spirit. Within our office at Fräulein, we mention Margiela frequently. We all have our own favourite moments, looks, and reasons for admiration. During this year’s Couture Fashion Week, we decided to show some love for the house, and gather the greatest creations from one of the most iconic ateliers of our time. Martin Margiela, John Galliano, we love you forever, in this life and the next- in whatever form we may take.

Spring/Summer 2013

Margiela places value on craftsmanship above all else. Here, he turns discarded candy wrappers into a couture piece of work, through ingenious tailoring. The energy of something to be indulged within the moment, such as a piece of chocolate, is memorialised on the wearer. JS

Fall/Winter 2013

While this outfit may not seem very “couture” given but a brief glance, the decadence is in the details. The top is constructed out of handpainted mosaic pieces, all sewn together. The material is very stiff and could easily have looked rather „crafty“, yet John Galliano is a master, and brought in his tactile and technical knowledge- from the puffy sleeve to the sculpted face mask, right down to the double lapel. Nothing is more rebellious than deciding to pair this creation with denim on the bottom half. Casual couture, top to bottom. FP

Fall/Winter 2013 

This artisanal collection not only brought back Margiela’s iconic face mask in the most beautiful way (plucked with flowers, dripping with paint, covered in crystals…) but also gave life to some old and extraordinary materials including a tulle and cotton coat cut from a 1950s prom dress, sequined costumes from the Beijing Opera in the 1930s, and embroidered Art Nouveau curtains in silk tulle. AKL

Spring/Summer 2015

Club-Kid Realness meets Couture! This creation draws inspiration from the iconic club legend Leigh Bowery, who inspired many designers such as Alexander McQueen. Galliano managed to create a crafty, almost homemade look and still make it feel so rich. Many wonderful, gold single ornaments, like a broken crown, stones and embroidery were placed on this red, flowing fabric. Let’s be honest, nothing says luxury more than the combination of regal red and gold.  FP

Fall/Winter 2015
There is no other designer that could make going green so glamorous: John Galliano has always been more of a rebel than a bourgeoisie. He was one of the first to consider himself a couture eco-artist, and he stands by his statements on sustainability to this day- straying away from the old opulence, re-thinking couture, and maintaining his firm backing of the reuse-recycle-rethink movement, all the while remaining true to his artistry. Here, a plastic dress takes the shape of a cloud, in the most voluminous of proportions. SB

Look 24, Spring/Summer 2017

This collection is all about Galliano showing off his level of sophistication, skill, and emphasis on spirit. The looks are inspired by the freedom of American communes of the past, with nods of stylistic appreciation to tall hats, folksy colors, crude embroideries, and the collaborative effort of groups bringing their unique and specific talents to create something larger than the individual. JS

Fall/Winter 2017 Couture

This collection embodied a very sophisticated and effortless kind of glamour through the great use of constrasts. The color palette was literally down-to-earth: consisting of beiges and cremes, sparsely highlighted by black, metallic blue and gold. Feathers and see through satins and silks with delicate embroideries were paired with heavy leather and wool. By far the most interesting fabric though was the on satin-backed crepe that gave the illusion of two which is best presented in this beautiful look right here. AKL

Spring/Summer 2019

This artisanal collection plays on androgyny and gender-bending- a recurrent theme since early stages of the house’s history. This collection particularly incorporates women’s undergarments, such as corsets, and morphs their shells into classic menswear suits. A more toned down approach to the garments construction served as a reminder of their mastery over a needle and thread, yet the splashy runway colours and introduction of highly reflective materials spoke on social consumption and visual overload that those in Generation Z face every minute of the day. MB

Spring/Summer 2020

Margiela was potently portrayed, worn by a model on everyone’s tongues after his debut. Leon Dame’s lustful and barbaric stroll (stomp) down the runway in a chic male skirt suit made hearts drop, and was the very essence of power in this collection.

The bowler hat, the white gloves, the iconic stitching patterns… everything is classy, yet it still feels rushed, as if items within arms reach were thrown on last minute before leaving your flat in the 6th arrondissement. This elegant walk-of-shame in the “Années folles” in Paris was sensational, casual, well-thought and lavishly thrown together, on purpose. NC

Honorary Mention: the Crystal Masks

In his very first couture collection from Fall 2015, John Galliano created these crystal masks: each mirror piece was hand-cut and assembled, as customary from his home off the coast of Gibraltar. Not only is the craftsmanship impressive, but the concept of covering the high-priced model’s faces was such a strong statement in the questioning of worth, identity, and anonymity as a counterintuitive luxury.


Images Courtesy of Vogue Runway

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