The fashion industry is renowned for its concentrated view on the concept of ‘trend’, meaning that the clothes we buy now will undoubtedly end up in Oxfam before the year is out. With its ‘Artisanal’ collection, the maison of Martin Margiela is seeking to reclaim these discarded fabrics and turn them into something which is both one-of-a-kind and timeless. The couture line is still relatively new, with this season marking its fourth showing under the official umbrella of Couture Fashion Week – meaning that expectations were raised.
The show began as Margiela’s trademark ‘tabi’ boots stepped onto the wood-panelled runway in a burnished metallic gold, completing an outfit comprising of what appeared to be a series of vintage tapestries. The model’s identity was obscured by one of the house’s customary masks – all-black, with gold embroidery where the eyes would have been. The look marked the beginning of a show which hinted at a nomadic spirit, browsing flea markets worldwide to collate a plethora of unique antiquities. These relics were then be destroyed and re-engineered into a series of jaw-droppingly exquisite headdresses, which draped over faceless models in a manner reminiscent of Cleopatra.
The house displayed versatility in a colour palette which ranged from dark pinks and muted yellows through to burnt orange and dark velvets. Kimono tops, wide-leg trousers and oversized flat-form coats provided a few of the collection’s highlights, all of which were teamed with the tabi boots in a knowing nod to the house’s heritage. Even tattoos were included in the form of a crop top which more closely resembled a collage than it did a garment, referencing the work of American icon Sailor Jerry. Patchwork quilts also got the Margiela treatment, resulting a floor-length gown draped with the black silk which would go onto create the finale look. It is surprising that the house chose to end the show with a simple yet stunning silk jumpsuit, but, in true couture spirit, less surprising that it was accessorised with oversized cuffs fringed with black horsehair.
Like the nomad that it depicted, the collection in itself was quirky and loveable with a clear penchant for excess. The attention to detail was also extraordinary, particularly on a series of outfits that were hand-studded with thousands of tiny trinkets. The house’s unique outlook on couture was another element which set it aside from its contemporaries, pulling focus onto a new breed of buyers that invest in quality as opposed to squirreling away budget garment. Perhaps it is this ideology that marks the future of fashion – a combination of conscientious buyers and luxury products which can could mark the end of today’s brand of ‘fast fashion’ consumerism.