John Galliano's Swan Lake at Maison Margiela AW19

John Galliano's latest outing for Maison Margiela began with the serene gender-fluid tailoring that his last artisanal collection ended on, and like then, the tailoring was masterful. "These are my beautiful swans," explained Galliano in the newest episode of his ever graceful podcast The Memory Of. Opening yet another Maison Margiela show, teenage model-of-the-moment sensation Finn Buchanan glided down the runway wearing a simple black single-breasted coat as Tchaikovsky's arrangement of "Swan Lake" began to play.


Perhaps the biggest shock was the subtle opening. Calm and collected tailoring was a stark contrast to the dizzying and dazzling surface decoration of wealth and excess. "To go back to the artisanal, the idea that maybe decadence, the chaos, the social media, the over-saturation of too much information could take us on another trip. I wanted to produce an insatiable feeling to inspire myself and my team into a new direction." If his Spring Summer Artisanal collection offered a presentiment, then his Autumn Winter 2019 collection definitely followed that through in an abundance.

You couldn't have blamed anyone for thinking that Galliano's Spring collection for Margiela could have gone down that same exuberant, graffiti-filled, mirrored path - where oversized Klein blue poodles were the norm and how excess printing and creative cutting made garments become almost unrecognisable in an illusion-like state. If last season was about digital decadence, this season offered a new layer of honesty, fear and restraint. It's no secret that John Galliano is a master of his craft, here he continued to experiment with life within old, tired wardrobe staples, reducing garments to their "most authentic form," through means of cutting. By doing so he gets to the core of each garment, keeping alive the memory of what they once were. The seams left behind become frames for a new idea.

Although the collection was stripped back, it was far from an exercise in minimalism that lot's of people seem to associate with Maison Margiela. Garments come spliced and manipulated into new forms. Twill coats were transformed into a jacket with "flat-cut" sleeves, a pair of equestrian trousers were cut into a bustier dress, a grey over-dyed herringbone coat was cut into a pair of shorts using his iconic decortiqué cutting method at the hem and one grey herringbone trench coat was transformed into a boiler suit with zips on the inside leg. The symbol of this collection came in the form of a pink flamingo, digitised and plastered across the back panels of coats, on neoprene leggings and the most insanely gorgeous heeled boots. "Inverted excess, the idea of a proposal of something minimal," as Galliano himself explained.

Non-binary is a term that often gets thrown around nowadays, few designers actually challenge and champion it in their shows, they're most commonly exciting young designers in London, most notably Charles Jeffrey Loverboy and Art School. It's refreshing to see a designer at a big fashion houses, like John Galliano at Maison Margiela actually embrace and celebrate it too. In fact he's brought a whole new generation to the forefront of high fashion, "When we came here, the mission was to create the coolest, most cutting-edge couture house ever," he explained. "I'm feeling that millennial penetration into the house, who are positively reacting to it." Thank you JG for your faith in this new generation.








































Images courtesy of Dazed Digital and Vogue Runway
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