mm6 maison margiela goes all 'don't tell the bride'
For its spring/summer 20 show the house presents a celebration of weddings in all their tacky, traditional glory. There was even a cake!
Fashion has a history of giving an outré overhaul to the traditional image of a blushing bride. Think of Yves Saint Laurent’s Fabergé egg of a wedding gown, or Gaultier’s transparent, boob-baring sheath. On fashion week catwalks the bride can stand for fantasy, but she can take l’air du temps, too — at Chanel couture spring/summer 13, Karl Lagerfeld sent out a lesbian couple for the finale.
For spring/summer 20, Margiela’s ready-to-wear line MM6 took a different tack with bride-inspired attire. Bridal looks were deconstructed and felt seen anew as separates: as gauzy tops with peplums, with candyfloss and ivory veils and tiered skirts in midnight black. “We wanted to have the bride in an urban environment,” said the MM6 team. “When you break it into pieces, it's just really wearable clothing.”
There were nods to Yoko Ono’s roomy pantsuits and the cascading layers of meringue worn by Stephanie Seymour wore in Guns N’ Roses’ 1991 November Rain video. “Yoko Ono has done artworks with white and her life, and with the Fluxus group as well, there are many things that are related to Martin's creations. What we always want to do with MM6 is, rather than just going into archives of Margiela, going beyond, to his inspirations, like Iggy Pop.”
There were also deconstructed denim blazers, handbags in the shape of tin cans (for a noisy celebratory charivari), and prints that read “Just Margiela” and “BETTERHALFISM.” “We just invented that word!” said the collective of the latter. “It's quite cheesy to see ‘friendship’ or ‘love’ as a print.”
But Margiela’s designs have long been the holy grail for well-heeled androgynes. How does the theme of straight marriage — and all the heteronormative associations that come along with it — fit into the house’s codes? “In the 90s we never thought about it,” said a male member of the collective. “We wore mascara... men and women. I think MM6 is men's and women's clothing. We don't even want to [label it]. A blazer is a blazer, I think it looks equally good on both genders.
The collection was laced with a sly sense of fun, too — those tin cans also showed up as heels; a tunic is printed with blooming tulips with stems gathered with a lighthearted trompe-l'œil silk bow. Of course, Margiela’s current helmsman John Galliano is no stranger to moments of catwalk irreverence. The MM6 atelier compared their relationship to Galliano in scholarly terms. “John Galliano is an artist, and we are art students,” they said. “We don't have the materials John has — we have humble materials like calico and denim. We cut them, we splice them, we make mistakes. You should be able to see the errors as well.”
Photography Mitchell Sams.
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.