Watching the designs come down the runway during the Maison Margiela Spring 2016 Couture show was like observing a wild animal in its natural habitat. John Galliano is at his very best when left to his own devices, unrestricted by the normalcy of ready-to-wear. Today he presented some of his iconic whimsy mishmashed into one surprisingly successful collection of deconstructed gowns, abstract silhouettes and texturized materials pieced together like a collage.
Naysayers who didn’t believe that the eccentricities of Galliano could merge with the aesthetic of the house were quieted when he sent his surreal designs down the runway. Unfinished safari jackets accented with pieces of raw fabric, dresses made from layers of unmatched fabrics and shirts with odd proportions were reminiscent of Martin Margiela’s original works. On the surface it looked heavy and amateurish. But small details, like a raincoat with a fan-pleat front or a dress with angular but voluminous shoulders, made it clear he’s a master of fabric manipulation.
And there was no limit to the fabrics used in the collection. Twill, brocade, jacquard, silk, georgette, fil coupés, velvet, taffeta, calfskin and lamé littered the runway. Twill trench coats wrapped in silver lamé were the first pieces to come out. Outerwear was finished with velvet pockets or multi-colored silk trains. Practicality was abandoned for beauty in one particularly extravagant coat that had one side removed and replaced with a scrap of navy blue and lime green jacquard.