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It’s the End of the World and Margiela Feels Fine

With holographic coats, protective headgear, and android accessories, creative director John Galliano’s Fall collection was both cheerful and chilling

To see the entire Maison Margiela Fall 2018 Ready-to-Wear collection, click here

Maison Margiela’s Fall 2018 show built on themes we saw in January’s Artisanal collection, specifically the concepts of rushed and backwards dressing. That meant giant coats worn beneath harnesses, sheer zip-front jackets thrown atop outerwear; knits pulled over blazers that were actually dresses; a suit jacket that was really an elongated bondage-esque corset buttoned around a trench; a huge, Fair Isle turtleneck that hung in front of a check blazer like a dickey; a tech-coat trimmed in black lace that was actually a dress—you get the idea. But this was so much more than an evolution of creative director John Galliano’s couture outing. In fact, it was—and I hate using this word but I simply must—everything

We’ve been seeing quite a bit of end-of-the-world garb from fashion’s greatest minds this season—namely Raf Simons at Calvin Klein and Miuccia Prada. The former’s Fall offering was chilling, presenting ideas of a life lost and remembered, and survival after a popcorn apocalypse. Prada, meanwhile, proposed an end-of-days rave—that we should go out with a neon bang. Galliano’s take was somewhere in between. With iridescent quilted coats, protective hoods and headgear, cage-embellished trainers (dubbed the Security Margiela Sneaker—or SMS—they would have come in handy while wading through Simons’ popcorn drifts), and giant, solo puffer sleeves (under which iterations of the house’s Glam Slam bag were tucked), these clothes were surely meant for survival. But bright hues, Western fringe details (often in electric pastels and trapped in see-through PVC), and the music, which included a rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In,” suggested a deliriously happy-go-lucky vibe. Clearly the survivors of some future global meltdown, the models, with their colorful skull caps and blue or green lips, were beautifully deranged—insanity being a mode of survival in its own right. However, certain elements, like that fringe, or rubberized Aran knits that crept up a heavy grey coat like moss, signified a certain sentimentality—memories of a lost world. 

Another theme here was our increasing reliance on technology—the ding of a computer messaging app opened the show and accessories like imposing chrome ear cuffs and rubber finger bands made it seem as though these women had become one with the machines. Bleak? Indeed, but Maison Margiela’s holographic androids were—if those sartorial tokens of the past are any indication—still at least a little bit human. And they’re still kickin’ in those sick-ass sneakers. 

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