One can learn a lot when seated next to an esteemed colleague like Hamish Bowles. Such as, for instance, Hamish revealing that the venue for the showing of the latest Artisanal collection by Maison Martin Margiela (or MMM, as it will be known for sake of speed), that experimental exploration of the house codes through found materials and remnants (literally) of the past to create unique pieces, was, back in the day, a factory for hot-air balloons.
Somehow, this revelation of the building’s origins makes it the perfect setting for Artisanal—a sense of derring do, and the notion that whatever you make has to take flight. MMM’s latest venture into the world of one offs certainly soared. Like other brilliant explorers of what artisanal haute couture can mean in the twenty-first century (that would be you, Monsieur Simons, and your inventive Christian Dior), MMM allows this particular expression of the house to visit the past while also making sure there is a return ticket back to the here and now.
Artisanal opened with a trio of looks— a prosaic uniform of white tees and blue jeans with a claret jacket or coat—all rendered in latex, complete with tan platform boots (also in latex), geniusly accessorized with crystal spurs. From there, it was a full gallop into the wild and wonderfully chic.
It is a world where one look can be, and I quote from the show program, “a replica of the bust of Chopin” worked into a calico top embellished with cabochon-cut stones, or agate discs can be patched together, then worn over faded jeans (a recurring idea here) or that one half of a pair of evening gloves is affixed with a sweep of flora-and-fauna-embroidered satin.
Elsewhere, a jacket might be whipped up from a 1950s prom dress, and embellished with fabric flowers variously sourced in London, Los Angeles, Paris, and Brussels, or Art Nouveau curtains are drawn together to form a columnar evening dress. Where does all this take MMM? Well, clearly, it feeds into its heritage as a house willing to go against the grain (of the fabric, and otherwise). Yet it also allows for a rare moment at the haute couture, where one gets to marvel at audacious beauty that requires no other knowledge than to just sit there and revel in the moment.
Review by Mark Holgate,via: http://www.vogue.com/
Images courtesy of Maison Martin Margiela