Maison Margiela SS2018 ‘Artisanal’ Collection

Maison Margiela SS2018 ‘Artisanal’ Collection is relaxed glamour appears when we least expect it: a flicker of light, a sudden burst of technicolour. Maison Margiela illuminates its ongoing proposal of a new glamour in illusionary fabrics. Entirely transformed by the flash of a camera phone, dresses, coats and bustiers turn multi-coloured, revealing a parallel reality.

John Galliano draws on the reflection and retraction of light, seducing the eye with hidden images through a play of layers and decortiqué. A dark coatdress transforms into a holographic gown. Exotic tapestry comes alive on a jacquard column dress veiled in lace with a bustier crafted in iridescent film. In motion, the reflective polka dots of a coat in prism film morph into daisies.

The shadow of a coat becomes visible over vivid plume encased in clear poly-urethane. The memory of garments materialises within constructions, like a coat in georgette lining imbued with the memory of a biker jacket in relief. Affirming new house codes, the act of dressing in haste is freeze-framed in the cuts of the collection. These spontaneous feminine gestures are captured in deconstructed dresses and coats, zipped together to form reconstructed single garments.

Appropriating the inappropriate, unconscious glamour is further reflected in outerwear adapted from sports – ski jackets, parkas, bikers and interweaved with fabrics native to haute couture. The humble material of rubber is forged into the contours of knitwear and sculpted into a coat, finding new glamorous ground. 

Set in the ateliers at 163 rue Saint-Maur, the show features four site-specific sculptures commissioned by Maison Margiela from the American artist Jessi Reaves. The ottoman-like works reconfigure familiar archetypes and reflect the idea of relaxed glamour. ‘When lines between daywear and eveningwear are blurred, relaxed glamour becomes the essential dress code in our everyday life.’ – Maison Margiela.

Transformative fabrics set the holographic tone for the collection. Reacting with light, the illusions created in these reflective materials are influenced when filtered through high-shine clear layers such as poly-urethane, PVC, prism film, and Perspex. Transparent tulle, chiffon, voile and georgette echo this method, while lamé simulates the gleaming iridescence of the transformative fabrics.

Multi-coloured plume encased in poly-urethane likewise captures this effect. Moulded rubber serves as the memory of knitwear. Bustiers are sculpted in spazzolato leather. Floatation foam used in the padding of a lifesaver’s jacket hint at the relaxed glamour of yoga mats. Fishnet and denim appear in dresses alongside intricate jacquards and Chantilly lace, fusing the properties of sportswear with haute couture. The reflection and retraction of light transform tech garments, allowing dark dresses and coats to appear multi-coloured with the flash of a camera. When layered with clear materials as if they were filters, additional effects materialise. Maison Margiela’s term for reducing a garment to its core, decortiqué contributes to this miellefeuille, while prints and reliefs on transparent surfaces create the memories of faces and garments. 

Moulded rubber bears the recollection of knitwear. Re-establishing house codes, the relaxed and unconscious glamour of dressing in haste informs the cuts and silhouettes of the collection, reinforced in the idea of separate pieces, which can be reconstructed and deconstructed with zips. Reacting with the flash of light, multihued colour formations become visible in reflective black fabric. This rainbow-like palette informs the use of lime and viridian greens, citrus yellow, blue velvet, vivid orange and bright pink in the collection. Weather-centric colours and effects such as sea foam and iridescence further establish this idea.

The impression of relaxed glamour materialises in the memory of classic jewelry. The memory of a western belt is imprinted in a rubber imitation. Sports gloves are re-imagined in rubber, while traditional crinolines and bustles become accessories constructed in Perspex and shoelace decortiqué.  Alluding to the creative process of jewellery-making, diamonté necklaces are left on the clear acetate boards on which they were created, and suspended from the body.

Diamonté is stitched onto PVC swimming caps as the memory of earrings, while PVC parasols nod to the collection’s weather-related undercurrent. Chain belts appear throughout. Drawing on codes from security and sportswear, the sneaker – offered in high or low-top editions nods at the performance-centric undertone of the collection.