Monday, 23 July 2012


'Artisanal' Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2012/13 by Maison Martin Margiela

With a pleasing symmetry, the first days of Paris fall 2012 haute couture opened with a Belgian - the exquisite rigor and palpable femininity of Raf Simons’s debut at Christian Dior - and the week closed with a Belgian (Maison Martin Margiela, in different, if no less strong, form). Of course, unlike the intense level of scrutiny heaped on Simons’s head, there is none of that at Margiela. There can’t be. The enigmatic founder of the house left several years ago, finally fulfilling after all those faxed responses to journalists’ questions that were answered with a collective “we” instead of a singular “me.” If the responsibility for the Margiela “artisanal” collection resides with a sole designer or a team, who on earth knows? In that respect, some element of mystery lingers. 

Suffice it to say, though, something is definitely going right at the house because presenting wittily arch and intriguing concepts about couture’s artisan customs and traditions with Martin Margiela, the master of those hijinks, long gone, is pretty darn daring. And regardless of who’s pulling the strings or, as we saw here, turning the baseball gloves into a jacket this was a strong and inventive presentation. And one with just fifteen looks at that, and all shown with crystal-encrusted face masks, the week’s wildest take on the veiling-the-face trend.    

Margiela (the man, that is) had been since 1988 making use of whatever objects he ran across and could rework and revitalize, and there was some of that controlled randomness in this collection; disparate elements coming together to make a satisfying whole. In this particular case, that meant: the aforementioned mitts, cut down and stitched into a couple of pieces (a sleeveless jacket, a short dress) that molded to the body; fin-de-siècle tailoring rendered in calico and fastened with Edwardian crystal bed knobs that were very objet trouvé in spirit; a gorgeous passage of casually layered but complexly constructed looks that involved different early-1900s lace and embroideries pieced together; and, the standout (for this writer a least), an absolutely gorgeous long coat made of Art Nouveau–era vegetal silk that looked as if Poiret had made one of those big-in-the-eighties MA-1 flight jackets. With its romantic linking of the rawness of the street and the reverence for the beauty of the past, that elongated bomber was pure Margiela.

Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories 

© VOGUE by © Yannis Vlamos/GoRunway 


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