Following one of fashion’s most exciting weeks – Couture Fashion Week – Debut reviews our favourite collections, examining the inspirations behind the clothes and picking out our favourite looks.
When it comes to Haute Couture wearability, relatability, marketability, and sometimes even reality are out of the equation. Not in the case of Maison Margiela’s Spring/Summer 2017 couture collection, a show that invites a thoroughly 21st realism to tinge the fantasy; once again proving that John Galliano is the ‘King of Couture’.
Taking inspiration from the “animated selfie filters on social apps” such as Instagram and Snapchat, Galliano’s Maison Margiela Couture S/S 2017 collection examines the layers, drapes and overlapping in fashion and society.
In the most literal sense, Galliano’s ‘filters’ include a white tulle shirt embroidered with the iconic ‘rainbow vomit’ face or, in the show’s spectacular conclusion, delicate black tulle twisted around the form of a white coat and manipulated to form a woman’s face; a work of living art done in collaboration with artist Benjamin Shine. Ironically, the image of this final piece has become a fixture on millions of Instagram feeds.
Less obvious are pieces which were made with a technique Galliano called “décortiqué”: a French word originally used to describe the peeling, shelling or hulling of food stuffs. These looks depict the ‘hulling’ of garments, unpeeling the outer exterior to reveal their internal structures. Shoulders are peeled off, threads spool out of button holes, a trench coat has its segments cut out, frayed edges marking its missing pieces, and the skeleton of a woollen coat is buttoned over the bulging innards of a lace dress. It is a stark meditation on the layers we create to protect our identities, and how easily these layers can be ripped away.
Words by Esther Newman