By Chere Di Boscio
At an intimate space near London’s Victoria station, the fallen genius of fashion rose once again in his triumphant return at Maison Martin Margiela.
‘Artisanal’ was the name of the collection, shown on a minimal catwalk in London’s Victoria neighbourhood. The first look lived up to the collection’s name, showcasing a camel mini dress embellished by hand with upcycled toy cars painted black.
Other upcycled materials used by Galliano in his creations for the Belgian maison included shells, broken mirrors, end fabrics and costume jewellery. The Margiela trademark mask seemed to have taken some influence from Galliano’s former peer, Alexander McQueen, with a nod to the late designer’s skull scarf motif; the drawings of Jean Michel Basquiat may also have been an influence.
A statement from the label described the latest collection as being true to “A deep commitment to the extraordinary possibilities of the Maison’s Atelier and the art of Haute Couture,” using a mix of diverse fabrics and upcycled materials to create “a new fuller, revealing silhouette”.
Many of the signature looks Galliano used for his collections were here, too: corsets, full length gloves and oversized, floppy Victorian hats worn at a jaunty angle.
Galliano graduated from London’s Central Saint Martins arts school in 1988 and immediately set up his own label, which continues to produce collections without him.
He was appointed as head designer at Givenchy in 1995, a position he held for just over a year before joining Dior, where he was creative director from 1996 until 2011.
Galliano’s appointment was made by the company’s majority stakeholder Renzo Rosso – President of the Only The Brave (OTB) group that also owns fashion brands Diesel, Marni and Viktor + Rolf and who Maison Martin Margiela since 2002.
Shocking the fashion world, Galliano decided to show his collection in London instead of during couture week in Paris, as was Margiela’s previous custom.
Indeed, Galliano’s appointment promises to breathe new life into the brand, which declared it is undergoing “a process of discovery, returning to one’s roots. Piece by piece, deconstructing and constructing a new story for Margiela.”
All images: Maison Martin Margiela