Maison Margiela is stepping things up a gear, heading for a mountainside or yoga class near you. Fusing the ordinary with the extraordinary, nylon anoraks, heritage checks and the inner linings of coats were 'recycled' into new hybrid creations - embellished with sparkly cocktail gloves, cracked mirror skirts and crystal earpieces.
Exploratory activewear took on a new dimension here. Whilst designers such as Miuccia Prada and Donatella Versace have created recent menswear or womenswear collections inspired by hiking, climbing and a wilder take on travel, it was great to see John Galliano connect to a mood, whilst building on his and Margiela’s reference points. His confidence and genuine joy in all manner of fabrics - in line with the artisanal heritage of the house - saw this collection find a form of self expression that was unique and beguiling. The show notes talk about unsettling familiarity with 'strangeness'
As our collective consciousness sets out to existentially 'find itself', this collection tapped into the mass-niche love for camping, Ashtanga poses and rock climbing. Girls walked with scuba suits tied as a new kind of sweater around the waist, yoga mats were strapped to the tops of backpacks - and worn with an adorable pair of pink mohair shorts. Martin Margiela's iconic Tabi boot re-emerged this season, in wallpaper printed nylon. The soundtrack stated, 'we choose to go to the moon.' We too!
The powder room refinement of pistachio trench coats contrasted with glitter-covered skin and near nonsensical baubles hanging off asymmetric hemlines. Hair was aerodynamically thrust back into gravity defying ponytails.
The house's aim, as set out in this season’s show notes, is to 'stimulate nostalgia and innovation at the same time.' Silks and velvets were mixed with blouses made out of sports mesh, and vulcanised cotton outerwear. Nylon was embroidered or cut into ribbons. Neoprene was appliquéd with panels of fur. Toggled elastic, safety buckles and the drawstrings of a hiker's backpack cinched the waist, creating a ruched effect. Armlet style bracelets also pinched voluminous sleeves, like bicycle clips. Equal parts Tour de France and tour de fashion, the collection was an eclectic whistle stop tour of elegance, eccentricity and sports. Putting the performance into performance, this was a theatrical 'exploration'.