MM6 Maison Margiela Autumn//Winter 2021/22 Milan Fashion Week

Method in the Madness: MM6 Maison Margiela’s Cabaret of Anti Fashion Heroes Innovate and Stimulate.

Image and Video Credit: Maison Margiela


Raucous piano cords provided the backdrop for John Galliano’s Fall/Winter 2021 collection for MM6 Maison Margiela, the original brainchild of Belgian designer Martin Margiela. This design house, as famous for its notoriously reclusive founder as it is for its anti-fashion antics – since 2014 under the creative direction of the hugely talented (if somewhat controversial) fashion genius John Galliano – has reinvented itself with the latter at the helm. And today there was cabaret in the house. Mind you, not your usual Moulin Rouge-style affair with a bevy of showgirls baring flesh, ruffling feathers and rearranging nipple caps … errrr… no.


Life’s a Cabaret, Old Chum!

Heralding the collection was a model in an oversized cable knitted beige jumper with a sizable hole hacked from the top of the sleeve – seriously distressed and quite obviously damaged (the jumper that is, not the model) – and as is characteristic for this design house (where nothing is what convention would have you expect) the start of the film was also the end of the film. Bear with me – as confusing as that may seem – as there was much method in the modus operandi.


A distressed cable hand knitted jumper fraying at the hems and with a large ‘designer’ hole on the sleeve

Hair covered in what seemed like confetti (but probably something far more profound) the first model made it down the ‘catwalk’ in a shocking pink spaghetti strap belted top and long pink gloves over a demure, loose-fitting pair of trousers. A two-tone tawny tweed and black coat with its huge labels and washing instructions stitched on the outside worn over a hoody and pair of black jeans, a beige trench coat with its collar back to front, a pinstriped jacket with two backs and a pair of jeans with pockets at the front and fly at the back made the point that postmodernism and this brand’s trademark ethos of deconstructed, subversive fashion were alive and well on John Galliano’s watch.


All covered-up glamour in a shocking pink and brown outfit


Vintage-inspired double denim ‘inside out’ ensemble


A practical shearling coat

Conventional pieces were reworked to fit the brand’s motto that there are multiply ways of styling and wearing any given garment. Slashed and re-sewn jeans, a vintage-style double denim ensemble constructed inside out and a reconstructed Fairisle jumper preceeded one of the most ‘glamorous’ (and I suspect Mr Margiela will cringe at the use of that term) outfit: a rather elegant long sleeve shocking pink cape-like blouse (label typically on the outside) worn over a pair of mocha-coloured trousers and pointy ankle boots, accessorized with one large pearl earring.

This predominantly monochrome (bar the pink) collection sported many utilitarian nylon bags – from fully reversible fanny packs and rucksacks to totes. Possibly the most memorable silhouette was the beige ribbed dress worn with its overlocking on display, as a skirt. A black blouse, sleeves dangling unoccupied, gave the dramatic impression of a cape.


A ribbed dress worn as a skirt, the overlocking and label are a feature


A tawny tweed and black coat with oversized labels and washing instructions sewn on the outside.

Deconstructive fashion has always a certain appeal and cult following, and few can do it better than Maison Margiela. This collection of predominantly streetwear (of an intellectual kind) is completely in tune with the unavoidable and imminent changes confronting us in our everyday lives as well as those in the global arena of fashion. It examines the concepts of form and line, construction and sustainability against the backdrop of ‘what is beauty?’ and the philosophical quandary of ‘to what lengths should we go for beauty?’, in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way.

This collection comes with a clear challenge, one that we can’t ignore: Wherever we find ourselves on the fashion spectrum – be it designer, wholesaler, retailer or consumer – we should stop and think.

But I’m equally convinced maverick designer John Galliano and the Maison Margiela team would be mortified if we didn’t have some fun while doing so.

Cecile Paul

Author at Pynck

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