John Galliano for Maison Martin Margiela

By Jo Phillips

It was palpable in the air. Everyone held their breath to see what John Galliano was going to present today. It’s safe to say that Galliano is resurrected, and fashion history has been made.

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If Galliano’s debut couture collection proved anything, it’s that he’s alive, relevant, and stronger than ever. The reason why this collection was also so anticipated was because it was John Galliano taking over at Maison Martin Margiela. It feels paradoxical; extremism interpreting minimalism.

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It felt so Margiela. The elements of luxe deconstruction, paired-back simple designs, and pure rawness. It was all there. Galliano still managed to inject just the right amount of his own DNA into the collection, giving the audience what they really want. Perhaps this collection was a cathartic experience for the designer, who was exiled from doing what he loves, only to have a few stand by him.

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I’ve always respected designers who are able to find the right balance when designing for another fashion house. It takes a real designer to understand a set of fashion codes in order to shatter them completely, and rebuild them in their own unique way. Everything from the venue, which was also significant due to its simplicity, to the quick bow Galliano made at the end of the show was his way of showing respect to the fashion house known for anonymity.

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It’s one of those collections where you discover something new every time you look back at it, like the black toy cars Galliano used to embellish a suede vest, the bright pillar-box red latex leggings, or shells used to decorate the garments. The Manolo-Blahnik sky-high platforms were exquisite and complimented the looks perfectly. Some pieces were surprisingly simple and commercially appealing.

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I really have no words for the last look. However, here are a few that pop in my mind; beautiful, disturbing, divine, sinister, and haunting. In three words, the main reaction to this collection is: He is back.