Back in July, Maison Margiela teamed up with Nick Knight to release S.W.A.L.K. – an hour-long film that followed John Galliano through a sequence of Zoom calls, charity shop trips and 12-hour studio sessions as he crafted the brand’s AW20 Artisanal collection. “Artisan is the heartbeat of the house, the energy,” said the designer, expressing that a modern Margiela Haute Couture collection is not made to merely sell clothes to the top 1%, but to inform the direction of the house entirely.
Galliano proved such notion with the film’s sequel, this time documenting how the house made its Ready-to-wear SS21 collection during a global pandemic. The designer transported and transformed the “drenched” dresses directly from the Margiela Artisanal collection, now equipped for a night on the dancefloor. Galliano took inspiration from a trip he took to Buenos Aires, where he saw tango being performed in a rundown warehouse that resembled a run down rave.
Once more, Nick Knight spliced studio footage and more team Zoom calls with ceremonial dance performances soundtracked by a spoken word poem from Kier-La Janisse. The wet effect tulle and muslin dresses were worn with ‘Sleazy Mary James’ made of brocade crafted in Venice (which Galliano calls the ‘Skanky Heel’). The designer speaks in-depth about the brand’s Replica pieces, where the Margiela team hunt for vintage pieces across the globe, re-appropriating and distorting their original form to breath new life into these forgotten gems – as seen through the eye of a creative genius.
Photography by Britt Lloyd.