There’s a slight arrogance to the team at Maison Margiela dragging us to the outskirts of Paris, and making us desperately late for the next show, for a collection that was largely business as normal. A graffitied rail yard in the 18th arrondissement suggested they were set to turn two fingers up at the slickness, commerciality and polish of the fashion industry. Not today. Elsewhere, Margiela is growing, changing, adapting. But John Galliano either doesn’t have the time or the inclination to turn his hand to the menswear just yet. So this was focused but directionless, full of wearable clothes tweaked with just enough odd, surprising details to give the wearer a sense of being a kook.
Some pieces were just for show - see the flapping ‘double trouser’ that encompassed a perfectly ordinary pair of black tailored pants with a whole new pair slit down the back and hanging off from the front, like the wearer was shedding a skin. There were also pieces decorated with chips of paint and bits of plaster and posters after the team had painted rubber onto walls, then applied it over garments, peeling it off to reveal the prints and patterns left behind. A lengthy process just for the sake of a little drama. Elsewhere there were simple knits, some clean bits of tailoring and leather staples. A little something for everyone really. Despite the irreverent choice of venue, this collection wasn’t really mean’t to surprise or rile. Its intention was simply keeping the Margiela ship moving forward, pulling in sales while creating a veneer of eccentricity and outsider spirit. You walked away pondering how strange its to compare what this house once stood for, and how it operates now.