- Text Jake Hall
- 26th February 2020
Deconstructed and upcycled fashion might be having a serious moment right now, but Maison Margiela has been doing it for decades. Already, the house has Artisanal and Replica lines, which consist of couture pieces made from found objects and careful reconstructions of archive pieces, respectively. But for FW20, creative director John Galliano introduced a new category: Recicla, a series of limited-edition, vintage reworks.
This season, these pieces included bags made from taro leaves and reclaimed luxury skins, as well as coats cut into extended, exaggerated collars. The brand’s iconic tabi boots came in a series of new iterations, too: some had exploded, blown-up proportions, others were the sporty, practical result of a Reebok collaboration and a few were painted white, as was often the case back in the 90s.
A cut-and-paste aesthetic reigned supreme, with dresses patched together from contrasting fabrics and covered with sheaths of toile, a reference to the dress-making process. For Galliano, it was all about deconstructing the bourgeoisie – literally, by tearing apart their overcoats and turning them inside out. Exposed seams, anatomical stitching and hacked-off, asymmetric hems were similarly, deliberately work-in-progress, and – as always – Galliano threw the notion of ‘womenswear’ out completely, dressing models of all genders in wipe-clean pencil skirts and intricately-ruffled chiffon tops.
More refreshing was the approach to sustainability, which has always been built into the brand’s DNA. Biodegradable accessories were even made with real fruit and vegetables, an innovation that proved fashion’s potential to innovate and reduce its carbon footprint in the process. But then again, Maison Margiela has always maintained the designer’s revered magpie approach: it’s one of the few houses with the knowhow to genuinely turn trash into treasure.