john galliano just updated swan lake for generation z at margiela
The autumn/winter 19 artisanal-inspired Margiela ready-to-wear collection was dedicated to the swans of today that continually inspire it.
Images courtesy Maison Margiela
“These are my beautiful swans,” John Galliano explains of his Margiela ready-to-wear show in the latest episode of his must-hear podcast, The Memory Of. “I've been listening to a lot of Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake, and the way the music is composed has really inspired me, how Odette felt in her destined human form, that's why I'm celebrating my swans that mean so much to me.” The show was once again led out by teenage north Londoner Finn Buchanan.
“To go back to artisanal, the decadence, the chaos of social media, the over-saturation of information, I wanted to produce an insatiable feeling to inspire myself and my team into a new direction,” he said. It followed on thematically from his most recent Margiela Artisanal collection, which was about digital decadence, but this season introduced feelings of purity and restraint.
Throughout, Galliano reduced familiar garments to their most authentic form – their core, their silhouette, their proportion – retaining only the memory of what once was. Fragments of traditional wardrobe staples are spliced and manipulated into new forms. Trousers are cut, opened, flattened and reconfigured as skirts, dresses or capes. A faux leather trench coat morphed into shorts with decortiqué hems. Despite being stripped back, this was far from an exercise in minimalism. Excess appeared in the decadent symbol of pink flamingos, which were digitised and pasted onto the panels of black and grey outerwear, trousers and heeled boots. “Taking things down to the purest, the necessary, the silhouette, to show these clothes feel,” he explained. “Inverted excess, the idea of a proposal of something minimal.”
Over the course of the last five years, Galliano has confidently manipulated the house codes established by Martin Margiela and introduced a number of his own -- unconscious glamour, dressed in haste, appropriating the inappropriate -- that have pushed Margiela forward. “When we came here, the mission was to create the coolest, most cutting-edge couture house ever,” he explained. Step-by-step, he has reimagined what couture could, and should, be today. He’s pushed-possibilities, blurred-boundaries and swept the dust from this atelier-powered artform. He’s brought a new generation along for the ride.“I’m feeling that millennial penetration into the house, who are positively reacting to it,” he added. “Just the other day I learned that the growth in luxury is led by generation y and z. By 2025, 45% of luxury buyers will be of that generation. What couture stands for today is the time. Through this concept of decadence and degeneration, we can give the authenticity that these generations demand.”
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.