The design team at Maison Martin Margiela have been slowly yet confidently redefining what being MMM sans Martin means – the exercise du jour in most venerable Parisian houses these days. The collection they showed at the Gymnase Japy should put any remaining doubters out of work – it managed to both feel new and ‘very Margiela’ at the same time. Or is this the plastic cup of wine they served before the show talking? Go figure.
The soothing voices of Ralph Stanley and Emmylou Harris singing Nick Cave’s 'Fire in the blood / Snake Song' introduced a collection full of stunning tailoring like the dark navy zip-up jacket and wide trousers with yellow paint smudges on the cuffs and legs. There was something sporty and easy about that jacket and the oversize cuffs were a theme that would continue throughout. A white shirt with pink paint followed and then another, strapless and pinstriped, the top just folded so. Piece after piece of fantastic tailoring walked out that, in the end, made this a shopping list of a collection rather than a singular creative message but isn’t that just great? Not that it lacked spirit, on the contrary, but it was more of a case of ‘it’s so good, who cares about the message?’ The one running thread, other than the notion of menswear reworked on the female frame, was a strap at the back of each jacket and coat that allowed for the models’ hair to slip under, adding some texture to the wool and cashmere. Why use fur when you can use your own hair?
A pinstriped sleeveless jacket was nipped at the waist and then curved at the hemline and a roomy white one had red patent leather elbow patches – oversized, of course, so they covered a bit more than that. A black tulle top had a patchwork of multi-coloured threads and that embellishment continued – another layer of red yarn criss-crossing was worn over a crisp white shirt. Those colours really enhances the sharpness of the tailoring but let’s take a moment to discuss a) the teaming of a purple net-like knit with a sleeveless patent chocolate leather coat and red loose trousers and b) the glossy red mac with its giant cuffs – both brilliant. A long piece of fabric, held tight on the model’s body by a strap on an otherwise bare back over those tailored trousers, was just one of the suggestions for evening – how chic and utterly Margiela is that?