After four years in exile after being ousted at Christian Dior and his namesake label for an anti-Semitic rant in a Parisian cafe, John Galliano officially returned to the ranks yesterday with his debut couture show for Maison Martin Margiela, shown in London at tea time to about 100 guests, most of them John’s nearest and dearest, including longtime pal Kate Moss and fellow designers Alber Elbaz, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Nicola Formachetti, Christopher Bailey and Galliano’s personal champion, Anna Wintour. The Vogue editor in chief was the first to wear Margiela by Galliano at the British Fashion Awards in December.
From the get-go, Galliano came out swinging. The tightly-edited artisanal collection deftly combined the house’s deconstructed signature with his own penchant for theatrical storytelling. A knee-length fuchsia coat, festooned with a plastic mask on the bodice and transparent circular pockets at the hips, was a particular crowd-pleaser, receiving a showering of Instagram snaps. That little number was paired with latex tights and jaw-dropping, two-tone platforms that will be nearly impossible to get your hands on. From upcycled party dresses to minimalist suits to elaborate outerwear, Galliano kept the hits coming. But nothing could top the designer’s two masked characters for the finale — a decadently deconstructed zombie bride bejewelled within an inch of her life and a scarlet high priestess ready to waltz onto a battlefield.
The resounding echo after the show was unanimous: Very Galliano and very Margiela both. He took the Margiela vocabulary and translated it in such an appealing and innovative way. The first 12 to 15 looks were pure Galliano, and the last were Margiela. It doesn’t matter what the label is. The talent, the signature, the handwriting is there. John can deliver. We’ve seen it. The iconic genius is back for good. (Text Teuku Ajie)