Yesterday during Paris haute couture week, Maison Margiela’s 2024 Artisanal Collection runway show beckoned to visitors from within an eccentric speakeasy setting under the historic Pont Alexandre III. With Creative Director John Galliano at the helm, a painterly performance embracing the fine art of dressing for shimmering enterprises under the Paris moonlight unfolded. Inspired by cinematic black-and-white imagery of 1920s Parisian life documented by Hungarian-French photographer and sculptor Brassaï, as well as the enigmatic artworks of Dutch-French painter Kees Van Dongen, a decadent character study on the bewitching self unfurled.
Seated within the cavernous underside of the iconic Parisian bridge along the Seine, guests were taken back in time to a nightclub soon to be populated with revelers and creatures of the night. A performance by Lucky Love was followed by a stream of models silhouetted by a misty night sky, and walks that took their time and a shape all their own.
Galliano Unveils an Expressive Palette Steeped in a Love Affair with Paris
In strictly precise and innovative haute couture designs, transcendental looks by Galliano echoed the delicate gestures and smudges of rendezvous beneath inky nightfall—trousers were lifted to keep dry from momentary pools of street water, jacket lapels were raised to veil the visage, and models receded into coats for protection from sudden mist. Skillful techniques were on ravishing display. Aquarelled pieces in a voilette of tulle were reminiscent of beloved garments tinged with tobacco and faded by the sun—even slightly glimmering from the Seine’s opulent reflection.
An expressive palette steeped in a love affair with Paris was noted in head-to-toe Galliano masterpieces. Enveloping shades of navy and midnight blue made way for gasps of pale pink, lilac, lavender, and heather—transporting us into a dimly lit boudoir where dresses, skirt suits, and undergarments flourish. Rigid bodysuits and whimsical masks—collaged with metallic menswear in deep green, gray, brown, and black—carried us back out into the evening’s decadence.
Surreal Techniques Embellished the 2024 Artisanal Collection
The impressive act of retrograding was spotted throughout the presentation, a deft technique that involves shaping the thread-work of rosettes and ruching to degrade from bottom to top— in homage to energizing lunar movement radiating towards the soul. Milletrage was imbued into liberated, airy trousers, jackets, and coats, using a mille-feuille of felt and organza beneath trompe l’oeil prints—culminating in apparitions of the traditional, weighty cloths used in the men’s wardrobe.
Maison Margiela Appropriates the Inappropriate at Paris Haute Couture Week
Avante-garde headwear in muslin, gloss-coated foam, chiffon, and stocking material utilized reverse swatching—in the maison’s signature fashion of “appropriating the inappropriate”—for an awe-inspiring effect. Otherworldly goggled turbans of silk organza and diaphanous materials gave way to sculptural leather breastplates mimicking wood and porcelain, with sensuous ankle bracelets manifested as tempting strands of pearls and wristwatches. A collaboration with Christian Louboutin was unveiled in six luminous shoe designs, provoking a rapturous conversation on the humanity of haute couture through the knowing eyes of Maison Margiela.