The Value of the Everlasting Upcycling and recycling the mores and folkways of the Bourgeoisie was John Galliano’s Fall 2020 design mission for Maison Margiela
John Galliano’s designs don’t exactly scream bourgeoisie but this season for the Maison Margiela Defile Co-Ed Fall Winter 2020 collection, it was exactly who he was going for. In a podcast sent out post show, the designer’s view obviously matured with time was expressed. “Our understanding of luxury is so different from before. Now we are inspired to fulfill the demands of an ethical conscious,” he orated. “Luxury nowadays is buying something that fits these ethics. Our footprint leaves a lasting imprint on the world.”
This inspired the designer to challenge his team to go out and find “charity store finds because there are far too many clothes in the world.” And with this Recicla was launched, a luxury upcycling initiative (and new word added to the Galliano vernacular.) This collection of limited-edition reworked finds denoted by a white Margiela Recicla label were shown amongst the collection of newly produced but made to look vintage pieces. Collectively they recalled a more “mindful era” one of innocence and less obvious consumer waste; after all, a preppy invested in pieces that would last generations. And hey, it’s not only good for business, it is the business of OTB group president Renzo Rosso who initiated a similar concept last week in Milan for Diesel: Upcycling for 55DSL, simultaneously reviving the streetwear off-shoot of Diesel.
Galiano set the mood with a voiceover track of a man narrating a tender love story of a young couple “sitting on a park bench in silence, no need for words.” It was a proper genteel interaction, those favored by the bourgeoisie who may not be so “touchy-feely.” On the podcast Galliano described evoking the “bourgeois gestures and nonchalance involved in the blasé shrug of a jacket off the shoulder, the nonchalant drape of a scarf around the neck or a twinset cardigan tied around the waist.”
This shoulder shrug jacket appeared in a series of capes, throws or hybrid pieces formed with a big Fifties-inspired bow. A men’s version in a shirting fabric recalled a shirt collar blown out of proportion with a bow flowing down the side. Examining the portmanteau for both men and women was a key exercise for Galliano who favored it oversized and draped or tied around a waist.
Along with traditional codes of the bougie set – pussy bow blouses, culottes, Mary-Janes, woolen outerwear and sensible shoes, Galliano injected a few archetypical looks from past-times favored by the privileged class such as hiking, sailing and exploring which manifested in man-size boy scouts with a humongous red scarf or a chipper looking sailor. Stephen Jones designed hats and other accessories helped drive home theme chez Margiela.
Sheer tulle on sleeves, as a dress or an inset of a men’s trench revealed the construction of the garments underneath and added a certain romanticism. As did netting and scalloped technical fabrics that served as masks. Galliano has long favored this styling touch though at today’s show it also gave this upcycled beauty a touch of the apocalyptic. As Echo and the Bunnymen’s 1983 hit, “Killing Moon” came over the soundtrack, imagining that couple courting so slowly and carefully on a park bench at night wearing masks in their upcycled couture-worthy duds felt very 2020.