by Alexander Fury .

PARIS FASHION WEEK: Maison Martin Margiela

Much mythologised but rarely felt is the true 'fashion moment', where something is so utterly, thrillingly wonderful that it transcends mere seasonal fashion and becomes something closer to art, something timeless, something truly monumental. This evening's Margiela show was such an event. A celebration of the house's 20th anniversary, the collection was a seeming exercise in archival revival, albeit anything but a lazy or emotionless rehash. Each outfit somehow had a tie to Margiela past while showing how that past could be utilised to invent the future. This is of course an idea Margiela have always played with: their 'Replicas', their use of recycled fabric, their meshing of different shapes and features culled from fashions ever-exhaustive history books. But this time, the ideas were culled from the house's own past, revived two-fold and, like a game of Chinese whispers, suitably distorted. Margiela's first jacket of the show was literally the first jacket, a piecemeal revival of a S/S 1989 design, which appeared, then reemerged as a print, then as a plaster cast lashed to the model's torso, inverting, abusing and ultimately collapsing the linear progression of time from inspiration to finished article. If occassionally this is lapsing into art historical criticism, it is because the show occassionally felt like a museum piece or art installation. But this is by no means a criticism. The imagery was powerful, influencial and inspirational. And if that all sounds a bit po-faced, a finale of two models entirely enveloped in a huge wedding-cake dress was enough to crack even the most jaded face into a broad smile. And when the whole house, models and a full brass band took their bows under a hail of silver confetti, it just about brought the house down.