John Galliano’s Maison Margiela Co-Ed Spring 2022 RTW Collection carried all the hallmarks of the terrific Artisanal haute couture collection where the narrative swirled through a fantasy.
Designing for what he imagines as this new brigade of ‘Utopian Youth’ triggered a whole raft of free-floating creativity. There are coats decorated with feathered fishing flies and others braided from strips of gray herringbone to look like a net, sailor collars, a brilliantly voluminous pair of high-waisted Dutch-boy trousers, and a conceptual meeting of cotton sou’westers and 17th century Flemish hats on the heads. Knitwear sails through reinterpretations of traditional Guernseys and Fair Isles and lands at one point on an amazing cream and blue- embroidered Delft-tile patchwork cardigan.
There’s an air of the reclaimed, semi-destroyed, and reconfigured about the collection that is very in sync with Martin Margiela history here. That’s no stretch for Galliano, who takes glee in turning garments inside out, exposing seams, weathering, shrinking, and overdyeing fabrics. This season he trained his ideas about ‘inverted snobbery’ on appropriating the ordinary, everyday object: tea-towels turned into Scout bandanas and patched into jackets.
Galliano’s ‘neo-alchemy’ has a sensitive, erotic, mysterious touch that is all his own. There’s a celadon silk faille beaded dress “that you can shrug off to reveal the lining,” sheer layers of black chiffon veiling, and a slip dress of spider-fine knit, covered with an iridescent mesh composed of recycled glasses lenses.