John Galliano was fascinated by the idea of ghosts within garments, but there is so much life to find in his clothes.


An interest in the inner life of garments has shaped the personality of the house of Maison Margiela. And, with his latest show for  Maison Margiela Artisanal, John Galliano’s goal was to utilise technology to reveal the layers within layers, the ghosts within garments. All we had to do was flash our phones at the clothes as they zoomed past.

So, what was clear to everyone in the room is that Galliano’s extravagant de- and re-constructions continue the tradition.

There is so much life in his clothes, so much, in fact, that he had to collage day and night together and then gloss them with another dimension of time and space: trench coat zipped to dress lining, ski jacket bonded to bronze lamé, a coat in tweed chiffon co-opted by the skeleton of a trench.

The comparison that springs to mind most immediately is the recent “Bladerunner” sequel.

In the future, the familiar is – then it isn’t. The Bladerunners Deckard and ‘K’ had Sinatra and Elvis performing in degraded hologram.

Elvis was on John Galliano’s soundtrack too, along with Roy Orbison and Nancy Sinatra.

It felt like Artisanal came together with last week’s men’s collection, Galliano’s first for Maison Margiela.

The idea of “dressing in haste” was fundamental to both. There was the same languid double-breasted suit, the same rubberised Aran knits.

The combat jacket in clear polyurethane was a cousin of the Biggles helmets the boys wore. And John Galliano’s décortique technique was in full effect in both collections.

It’s like an elephant’s graveyard of sportswear, the bones of old clothes making new shapes.

Hair and makeup were devastating/devastated accessories.

The sense of cultural detritus left a lingering odour (and that’s “Bladerunner” again). But that has always been a fascination of John Galliano’s – the forgotten and forbidden corners of human experience.

There was a beautiful analogy here in the outfits that sheathed opium den chinoiserie in polyurethane, keeping it fresh for an uncertain future.