There are always a multitude of ideas running simultaneously on the Maison Martin Margiela catwalk - some point the way forward for fashions new, some propose ideas that we want to wear right away. The first is of course the ground-breaking, fashion shaking moments that justify the whole circus of the four-city, five week rigmarole that is fashion month. But the latter can be just as satisfying, especially when its a case of a house building on their vocabulary of design but offering something fresh.
Maison Martin Margiela has a formidable archive. The kind of archive, indeed, that you can pull ideas out of, dust them off, and have them seem new and fresh. This season, it was about returning to tailoring - it was a jacket, narrow-shouldered and high waisted when nothing else was, that kicked off the Margiela revolution in 1989. Today the house showed every possible permutation, wearing the lining as a top, fusing sleeves into pockets to create a cape, and wrapping the tails of a floor-length coat around the legs to create a jumpsuit in camel. The idea of tugging part of a garment and distorting it into something else, as if the material itself were some enigmatic substance, elastic and ever-maleable, is yet another signature. Nowhere else do you get the impression that so much is possible with fabric. Tugged-up collars carried on rising to mask the face, seamlessly moulded from the wool of a jacket. For the closer, a trio of shirts were crafted from tough industrial plastics sitting stiff and proud about the body.
Those were the showpieces, alongside the sequence of dresses seemingly collaged from trailing, abstract bolts of furnishing fabric, but they were the exception rather than the rule. The magic of this Margiela display was an utterly convincing argument for, say, the back-to-front jacket as a top underneath a twin worn right-way around, or a dress with hacked-off, popped-up sleeves as unconventional office attire. It was quiet radicalism, just like that 1989 jacket.