July 25, 2016
By Thomas Sweeney
Photographed by Hanna Tveite
Now that a twenty-year Martin Margiela retrospective is under way at the Palais Galliera, fashion's cognoscenti will have more reason than ever to muse on the influence of the subversive Belgian designer. From his sliced garments to his repurposed vintage attire, Mr. Margiela's deconstruction irreversibly changed how we perceive the clothes we wear. And a good many of today's most hyped labels, it should be said, owe a certain debt of gratitude to the enfant terrible, whose brand DNA has served them well.
But how does the designer's legacy shape Maison Margiela now, under the creative direction of John Galliano? For Spring 2018, at MM6, a sportswear-based diffusion line launched by Mr. Margiela two decades ago, we see graphic, neat-as-a-pin nods to the lightness and transparency of his early-'90s output, as well as to the capacious volumes on trousers he embraced from the mid-'90s onward.
The focal point is a medley of minimalist dresses, three of which echo the diaphanous white cottons of Mr. Margiela's Spring 1993 and Spring 1995 main-line collections. The first dress displays a paneled bodice that funnels into pleats on a skirt; the second adds dimension with a sprucely folded side hem; and the third, in a full-length T-shirt shape, hints at deconstruction (and the designer's affinity for tie belts) with an attached camisole that fastens at the waist. Tie details also appear on the straps of an inky-black floor-length dress that could have served as an evening number in the Fall 1995 show.
Rounding out the relaxedness are two pairs of wide-leg cotton trousers that mimic the outsize pant proportions of Fall 1996 and Fall 2000. One is rendered in black and white pinstripes and sheers out at the ankles for a feminine flourish; the other is cut in a vintage-y denim (a staple MM6 fabric), ready to be matched with the line's boxy crewneck tee.
The end result? An impossibly easy spring uniform grounded in classic Margiela tropes, each a knowing wink to the MM6 devotee. It all imparts a daydreamy légèreté that keys back to an excerpt from the house's original manifesto, written by Mr. Margiela's late business partner, Jenny Meirens: "a subtlety: that makes everything possible."
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Styling Gabrielle Marcecca
Makeup Rei Tajima
Hair Takayoshi Tsukisawa
Lighting Design Aaron Joseph Thomas
Art Director Ashley Helvey
Model Liisa Winker