Maison Margiela wets just about every fashionista’s whistle, and for Spring/Summer 2024, it did exactly that, bringing a quirky, confrontational cool to the Paris Fashion Week schedule. With John Galliano at the helm – who cut his teeth at Givenchy and Dior before assuming the role of Maison Margiela’s Creative Directo in 2014 – we saw a haute ready-dismantling of fashion binaries.
The label was founded in 1988 and carved a name for its rejection of traditional fashion. This was continued as part of the Galliano-led SS24, as models morphed and contorted their bodies into slouched positions as part of a dramatic demonstration of avant-garde deconstruction.
The setting was a suitably stripped-back affair, with a muted chrome runway providing a blurred reflection of each look. The first outfit saw a historic take on tailoring, with an oversized mid-length coat concealing a boxy blazer and loose-fitting tailored trousers. It was worn with a shirt undone with a 19th Century-style necktie loosely flailing behind the model. On foot, we saw Margiela’s signature Tabi, with the split-toe detailing completing a lace-up Oxford.
Later looks saw the same coat worn bare-chested, accented with the historic neck-tie, with its wearers’ bare legs revealing calf-high white socks, folded over at the top and complete with black bow detailing. Other tailoring-heavy looks showed flaring asymmetrical collars with one side folded over the side of the coat, worn with loose billowing trousers. Models extended the asymmetry into their walk, bringing a theatrical, uneasy stride into the innovative display.
The collection was positioned at the intersection of men’s and womenswear. Between playful takes on traditionally masculine tailoring, we saw a deviation in the form of traditional womenswear looks, which were modelled at a slower pace. A grey dress was cut close to its wearer, featuring lace sleeves and detailing to the bust and extending from the hip. The display was soundtracked by “Masculinity” by Lucky Love, asking the audience the following questions: “Do I walk like a boy? / Do I speak like a boy? / Do I kiss like a boy? / Do I spit like a boy?”
Throughout the display, there was a juxtaposition present in the varying movements of the models, with some walking quickly and exaggerated, with their heads down, mirroring the movement of a predator as it chased slower-moving looks.
A furry black-into-grey dress was paired with a bonnet-style hat made from jagged grey plastic, held together with wire. The look was worn with white socks, faded grey Tabi stilettos and grey leather gloves, which finished above the elbow. A final punctuating feature was seen in a black and white gingham printed leather handbag, which was oval in shape and accented with textured polka dots which varied in size. The spotty motif was later seen on models’ sleeves and on a grey heaped tailored dresses.
Since its inception, which was when Martin Margiela was at the helm, the Parisian label has brought unconventional materials to the runway, and this was seen in its SS24 collection. It showed layered PVC materials meeting with pale pink corset tops, giving a half-wet appearance with the weathered look continued in cracked paint Tabis. Further deconstruction was seen across a similar outfit, which presented shiny tassel detailing, with a printed top worn off-the-shoulder and a large handbag carried loosely by the model’s side.
Galliano’s display of deconstruction ended with a sleek black dress, which featured a rounded neckline and signature removable white stitching. Elegantly falling below the knee, it was paired with black tights and grey Tabi heels complete with black lace detailing, rounding out the linear display in the same anthologised structure as it began.
For SS24, Maison Margiela gave us an enchanting, creative and boundary-pushing display which felt true to the reductive codes of the Maison Margiela brand and the technically progressive design sensibility of John Galliano.
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