The thing about couture is that, in spite of all the shiny embroideries, the fairytale dresses and the freedom of not having to stick to a sales agenda, a lot of the time it can feel incredibly serious and far-removed from modernity.
Not yesterday morning. Guests to the Maison Margiela Artisanal show arrived to the grandiose Hôtel des Invalides only to be ushered to a pristine salon occupied by a white catwalk and two lines of white chairs. It was the perfect setting for a collection inspired by the creative process, a subject that has long been dear to John Galliano…and that inevitably links him to Martin Margiela. The first few looks were a lesson in (deceptive) simplicity: a shredded white coat in wool and silk twill, a silk twill skirt suit featuring a silver lamé detail draped over it, an off-white dress with an organza skirt (all worn with cognac leather boots that could only be described as the stuff dreams are made of). The toile-inspired looks were followed by feats of fabric collage: jacquard met lace in a one-sleeved coat and printed silk crepe met knitted viscose in a shirt dress - the buildup was imminent.
And, sure enough, it soon happened: Ziggy Stardust wigs, glittery lipstick, gold leaf, jewellery, and fork-sprayed boots! It was all divine excess, and it gave a glam touch to a series of looks that had an otherwise rare street sensibility to them. There were reworked vintage t-shirts, checkered wool jackets, oversized blazers and crochet hoods before a finale of lamé and jacquard that was pure Galliano (as was the Edith Piaf soundtrack). The whole thing was proof (if we needed more of it) that Galliano-Margiela is a match made in heaven. But, above all, it was fun. And, in the mostly stern world of couture, that is priceless.