Maison Martin Margiela

It’s difficult to see a show in the absence of its designer, especially the already invisible Martin Margiela. There’s rarely a collection I’ve seen where his influence hasn’t been felt, be it oversized this, undersized that, the bodysuit, cut-outs, inside-out deconstruction, asymmetry, extreme shoulders—the list goes on. It’s all the more difficult when watching his legacy maison inhabit his DNA so effectively. Can I accept that it’s possible to create a great collection without its original visionary?

For spring, the team took the designer’s ideas for flattening and pushed them to their most minimal and elegant extreme. It began with a simple blue shirt worn as a dress, with the sleeves constructed in only two dimensions, like a square. The idea built from there with a shirt and a skirt—completely, utterly flat. The fronts continued to get flatter until trousers were reduced to rectangles in the front and leggings in the back. It became apparent that these perfect right angles were referencing all the Margiela classics, from the tuxedo and biker jacket to the trench coat and draped jersey dress. Colors were subtle: black, gray, white, pale blue and nude in the form of a bodysuit that echoed a bra tan.

The watch that came with display velvet attached had a touch of the Margiela irony, as did oversized clear collars. Shoes were seemingly classic patent pumps, but the tops had been removed so that they were deep like boats with elastic over the toes. Bags, carried like a clutch, looked like oversized camera bags, vanities or man purses.

Such careful attention was paid in the homage that I, a diehard fan, was hard-pressed to notice anything missing. But they existed: the irregular show staging, the democratic seating plan, a certain rawness and everydayness, and definitely his cool taste in music.

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