John Galliano presents the Maison Margiela ‘Artisanal’ 2021 collection. Titled A Folk Horror Tale, the new collection “studies the desires of a new utopian youth connected to the circles of life, time and nature.”
One of the incredible aspects of legendary designer and creative director, John Galliano, stretches beyond his designs and into the storytelling process for his collections. This collection began with the idea of alchemy, the precursor to chemistry and modern day science, as a means to discover possibility. “Generational objects imbued with history” tell a story that begins a quest: “the search for authenticity through scientific transmutations of shapes and textures of familiar garments, realized through harmonious dialogue with the natural elements.”
Drawing upon history, notions of time, and the fragility within, Galliano cites the significance of the moon in Mayan rituals and an heirloom cracked hand mirror, as a few examples of inspiration. These notions trickle down into the collection where we see a couture dress constructed from mirror fragments – looking in and looking out, the subject disappears calling vanity and memory itself into question.
The artisanal collection is one of meticulous construction and thought. Through the technique of decortiqué (the cutting technique through which pieces are reduced to their core structure), historical pieces for the house such as the Loden overcoat, denim jackets, and t-shirts find new life. Silhouettes are recreated with the outline of their own history – in memory of the house but also the wearer. In this way, much of the collection is upcycled or repurposed by the Maison Margiela artisans.
Additionally, Galliano invited three artists to collaborate on pieces in the collection. A blue wool jumper is interwoven with antique newspapers through hand-embroidery created with Celia Pym. The hand-made stained mirror fragment dress mentioned earlier is created with Hélène Vitali. Lastly, the iconic Tabi clog has been hand-painted by Anna Sokolova.
The film that presents the collection is directed by Olivier Dahan using technologies that create illusory effects and recall the feeling of the Dutch Masters.
This is one of the most intense and delicate explorations of couture from Galliano, not only in the sense of narrative but also in the way it takes couture into new territory.
Explore a selection of looks and an interview with John Galliano discussing the collection below. Images courtesy of Maison Margiela.