Post-it notes, crisp bags and holiday postcards. All commonplace household items, but in the hands of the team at Maison Martin Margiela, you would expect these starting points to inspire interesting, imaginative, and conceptual designs. Times have changed. Take the holiday postcard show invitation - an obvious Spring/Summer choice, possibly ironic? Nothing clever at work here - the same Caribbean print made its reappearance at look ten, enlarged to feature on dresses, a strapless swimsuit, boots and bags. Sadly, Miuccia Prada had already done this to better effect a few weeks ago, with clever manipulated photographic scenes showing holiday scenes. And the crisp packets? Simply slipped inside a belt to work as an 'accessory'. The Maison certainly hammered home their fascination with paper, opening the show with dresses, shirts and blazer jackets, bulked at the front like a tied paper bag and later, stiff mini dresses with giant darts. To their credit, the jersey T-shirts, trousers and shoes with paper overlay (squares of paper, hand-washed to create a 'disintegrating paper effect') worked well; an idea that should have been developed further. There were other ideas to add to the mix - heavy chains fashioned around the body to work as a dress, Japanese cherry tree prints with circle plastic embellishments, chaps which worked as a foundation to a number of the looks accompanied by pants and long flowing trains. And built-up shoulders - a style which we have certainly had a fair share of over past seasons. Cue the grand finale: a model wearing a train covered the entire length of the runway, celebratory music, streamers and clapping girls in white paper dresses. If it sounds confusing, it was. It lacked structure, direction and a distinct message - growing evidence to claims that Martin Margiela is no longer directly involved. This week, the house launches a book documenting its twenty-plus year history - a timely reminder of its long-standing radical, unique approach to design.
It lacked structure, direction and a distinct message - growing evidence to claims that Martin Margiela is no longer directly involved.