Friday 22nd June

| BY Richard Gray

Maison Margiela: Artisanal Men’s Collection

The clue is in the white coats: the uniform worn by the petites mains, those behind-the-scenes workers of the Paris ateliers; the super-skilled secret weapons of the fashion designer. These mainly female seamstresses and pattern experts, transform sketches and thoughts, notes and brief conversations with designers into cloth. Toile after toile, abandoned idea and final thing. From the petites mains, to the staff who seat you at the show, to the people who work in the shop: the white coat has become Maison Margiela code for “atelier-made” and designed and cool. That superb show, just, took established John Galliano design-language and career-long references like “Geisha” and transformed a 18th Century kimono silk into a boiler suit with awesome results. And then a clubland-meets-couture moment and then, was that the fetish club?… yes, those were indeed hi-shine waders. There were handmade corsets worn over shirts, plus the country gent’s tweeds and a toreador’s jacket, which was beautifully hand-embellished. And then the tailoring: Stanley-knife-sharp flares and jackets. Important: None of this is available to buy off-the-peg, by the way, rather, this is the first ever men’s Artisanal collection, a bespoke to-order wardrobe, which, says the house, will inform the spring summer ‘19 collection we’ll see hanging in Margiela shops next year. For the incredible results in today’s show, Galliano applied couture techniques to menswear; his pioneering bias cuts transforming tweeds and silks. It was absurdly beautiful.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans