In the underworld of a decrepit nightclub beneath Paris's Port Alexandre III, a hauntingly beautiful disposition unfolded. Amongst visionaries who lean towards cautious approaches to artistic expression, is the re-emergence of John Galliano — and in true form, he executed the Maison Margiela Artisanal collection as if it was a symphony of poetry come to life.
Attempting to label John Galliano as a realist would be an insult; his avante-garde and theatrical approach conjures fantasy, haunting the runway in a way that only Galliano himself is capable. Specialising in cutting-edge silhouettes and sheer lace dresses, with a masterful play on stripes and textured fabrics creating a visual illusion of block colours, the collection breathes new life into couture. It's a show that dismantled any preconceptions of what 'should' be, instead delivering an experience that epitomises true creative vision — something that we as an audience have been lusting for.
Galliano's theatrical spectacles a true art form. Galliano and his team are a force of nature, that together demonstrate a storytelling prowess with the most meticulous attention to detail, and with an emotional resonance that leaves the audience haunted. This show has spectators rethinking their understanding of fashion, and it also forces all to acknowledge fashion's transformative potential as a genuine art form.
The creative dynamic of Pat McGrath and John Galliano
Digesting this show and all it gave us has sent the internet into a frenzy. Galliano's collaborator and friend, Pat McGrath, is the makeup artist that launched a well-deserved thousand retrospectives in honour of her porcelain-doll beauty looks for the show. Galliano explained that the collection and makeup direction “examines the ritual of dressing and the clothes we wear as a physical expression of emotion". Specifically, the emotions and rituals that were inspired by the artworks from the La Belle Epoque period, and also the 1920 and 30's Parisian nightlife. A true performance artist, McGrath had models quite literally painted like dolls — with bleached eyebrows, bright red lips and colourful eyeshadow. The look wasn't complete without the Kryolan liquid glass, a thin latex film that achieved the glass effect for her dolls.
John Galliano and Pat McGrath form quite the exceptional creative dynamic, working together since Galliano's illustrious days at Dior, from the late 1990s to early 2000's. McGrath has been instrumental in bringing Galliano's visions to life through makeup, seamlessly complementing his themes of each show. A standout of their standout collaborations was witnessed in the Spring/Summer 2004 Dior Couture collection, a show that that was inspired by Galliano's trip to Egypt. The looks, characterised by theatrics, reached unknowing heights thanks to McGraths pharaoh makeup.
It's why reuniting of 'Mother of Makeup' with Galliano for the Couture Maison Margiela show has been met with such excitement. It's sent rippling effects across the industry, showcasing the enduring of recognition for their collaboration.
Finding Drama in Fashion
Galliano has been working with Movement Director Pat since 2018, and for this show they have partnered together once more. Boguslawski is the mind behind this show's terrifying yet hypnotic walk. It's a movement that was achieved in just five days and one that bought back the playfulness and theatrics that make couture shows so revered. Reminiscent of the moment that Alice tumbled down the rabbit hole, the show's movement stirs our imaginations, asking us to understand the pieces as a story — or maybe a fever dream.
In 2019, Galliano and Boguslawski also had model Leon Dames open for Maison Margiela SS20. In this showcase, Boguslawski gave the models each a story and motivation to guide their movements. This technique allowed each model to have their own individual walk to match their own energy.
Finding the art in haute couture fashion, where each stitch and stroke tells a story, the formidable trio- John Galliano, Pat McGrath and Pat Boguslawski wield their timeless influence once again. Reflecting on the creative directions of the Maison Margiela Couture show taunts our collective imagination with endless possibilities. It's a romantic and stirring start to 2024, one that has us enraptured and curious for what the rest of the fashion landscape may bring.