2010 October 3

Runway Reviews: Dior, Maison Martin Margiela

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When John Galliano dabbles in late sixties/early seventies kitsch, good things are bound to happen. (Guests exiting back into the rain, for example, would have killed for one of those navy or white anoraks.) The abundance of cat-eye glasses, fringed patent bags, crochet dresses, and halter shapes---all of which appeared in candy-colored brights from lime to fuschia to daffodil---left little doubt that Galliano is one happy designer. Karlie Kloss opened in a scrunchy sailor's cap and white leather anorak, giving a wink and salute. An assortment of drop-crotch chinos, silk harem pants, shrunken onesies, sailor pants, leather peacoats, and boxy knits followed suit. But as always, Galliano's permutations of silk chiffon provided the biggest wow factor, especially a citrus draped column decked out in a few spangles. Accessory-wise, raffia-strewn, mixed-media leather platforms, oversized duffels, a few Lady Diors, silk floral lei necklaces, and fringey collar necklaces contributed to the magpie mix.

The stylists will have fun with this one. After a Fall collection that had editors hitting the runway---to exit---before the last three looks, Maison Martin Margiela appears to have found its conceptual footing. Is there a new creative director in the house? We'll never know---but this "exploration of the stereotypical wardrobe," focused on the female form as seen through the lens of masculine silhouettes, showed creative rejuvenation. The first story played with trompe l'oeil techniques---comically oversized oxfords and blazers brought down to life via tight stitches outlining the arms. The outrageousness was heightened when the models emerged wearing what appeared to be a series of flat squares that stretched from chin to hemline---either gown-length or micro---that revealed silhouettes of sweaters and cocktail dresses from behind. Platform pumps weren't what they seemed, either---the platform part just wasn't there, and the foot sunk way down into the sole, revealing some extra inches of upper. Gold watches and ID bracelets were worn with their plastic display holders. A clear plastic necklace form was worn as a necklace. And why carry a bag when you can carry a long lucite rectangle (that doesn't close, but can also serve as a pretty cool flower press)? Overall, a lot of fun ideas from this Maison that is at last rebounding from the retirement of its founding designer.