Margiela Challenging Couture

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In my latest article on how couture can survive, I already referred to Maison Margiela setting new requirements with its couture show in fall/winter 2017/2018. In the latest couture collection for spring/summer 2018 John Galliano, creative director at the brand since 2014, repeatingly gave traditional rules an innovative dimension by questioning techniques. Maison Margiela is challenging couture in a way: Opressing color brightness merging with functionality and futuristic design. The fashion house shows that couture isn’t just perfectly glamorous evening gowns anymore, but rewrites the times of handicraft in a new way. Here’s how Margiela challenges couture.

1. Reworking couture techniques

The thriving fashion brand uses holographics in another way: Shimmering fabric is pleated and laced. An unusual way of working couture techniques.

margiela fashion show

Pleats in futuristic extension. © Imaxtree

Holographic lace. © Imaxtree

2. Disclosure of handicraft

Zippers are uncut, cutouts are located at untypical places, the lining is turned inside out. You know the actual length of the zipper, cutouts show you what happens underneath and you see, which lining is inside the coat. It’s this moment when cothing shows the observer how it was made. This is what various innovative designers like Martin Margiela himself or Balenciaga are actually known for. Margiela is now incorporting the visibility of handicraf, which is actually the essence of couture, into the couture collecions.

margiela fashion show couture new directions

Turning the inside out, disclosing handicraft. © Imaxtree

3. Art and fashion

In this outfit it looks like Galliano uses clear pcv foil to melt paint in it, drawing lace onto the pvc. It’s about inventing  new techniques combining uncommon materials to make the observer look at an outfit a second time, because he doesn’t understand at first sight. It’s kind of a combination of art and fashion.

fashion couture art

Mixing art and couture. © Imaxtree

4. Illusion making

Sometimes it’s just plain creating of illusion by hinting at the shape of a corset, like shown in the photo underneath.

new directions for couture holograph

Maison Margiela couture collection spring/summer 2018 – hinting at known shapes. © Imaxtree

Maison Margiela shows new perspectives of handicraft and hints at possible directions couture is able to define in the future. Functionality and deconstruction are finally melting into couture. A releasing mix of two directions which were counterpoles hitherto. Didn’t we wait for this to come?

This invention of new techniques reminds me a lot of the work we do in university. To actually see it at the fashion shows appears so interesting to me. Seems, as if we’re getting taught the good stuff, relevant for the future, right?!

xoxo Karo


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