And It Ended With a Horror Story
For those who could not detach from their screens entirely, John Galliano threw catwalk tradition to the wind at Maison Margiela and offered instead a short gothic horror film by the French filmmaker Olivier Dahan inspired by the stories and characters Mr. Galliano makes up to conjure his collections.
There was a 19th-century fishing village, a ghost ship, a sea shanty. There was a crown of mirrored shards that summoned a supernatural pestilence. There was some sort of shadow vine regurgitated from a young lover’s mouth. A hundred years passed. There was another community, with a seer. There was dancing in shirts and underwear, animal masks and ritual. There was a third age and a modern young woman who donned the crown and became the cursed queen. There were some strobe-like effects and a blood moon.
Some of it was gorgeous. Some was silly. A lot was hard to follow. But there were also pretty amazing clothes, when you could see them.
In a sort of documentary prequel, the designer talked through the painstaking experimentation and hours that went into creating the outfits: the jackets and dresses spilling ancient wadding made from deadstock and upcycled fabrics, initially at eight or 10 times their size, and then shrunk down to mimic the effects of time and tide via enzyme and acid wash; the sweater made from piecing together crocheted “delft” tiles (the palette was very Dutch renaissance); the giant overcoats with old newspaper cuttings sewn into their surfaces like patches of the past. The sorcerer’s dress made from shards of mirror, sack dresses and voluminous lace and silk gown.
Was it couture or was it costume? Like all clothes, a bit of both.
In his intro, Mr. Galliano said it was about “anxiety, the power of nature and, when faced with that, how helpless we are.” It may have been expressed in fiction and fashion, but after the last year, there was no arguing the point.