The Over-Pleated Trench Coat by Maison Margiela

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It’s the most glamorous accessory in history. The trench coat has appeared in both men’s and women’s wardrobes alike, but it’s in the hands of the ladies that the piece has been earning its pedigree for over a century. It’s enough to see it worn by Catherine Deneuve or Brigitte Bardot to realize what the “trench effect” is all about. To compose this collection presented during Haute Couture Week in Paris, John Galliano took iconic figures like Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe as a starting point. But Maison Margiela’s creative director is a far cry from backward-looking fashion – this man is an inventor, and this season he was animated “by the idea of offering a new glamour. I’m not saying I found out, since it’s a working process.”

Within the brand’s ateliers, established in Paris’ 11th arrondissement by Martin Margiela himself, John Galliano released a collection inspired by the gestures and “the speed of glamour”. “She puts on lipstick, she takes a coat and leaves in a rush.” This idea can be found in an over-pleated trench coat that looks like a work of art. The fabrics, the volumes, the cut – everything illustrates Maison Margiela’s very DNA. The foundation of the collection and definitely its most iconic piece, this trench coat reevaluates the humble aspect of the coat upon contact with Margiela haute couture. John Galliano is brilliantly able to deform, twist, and cut a couture piece into an undulating sensation. It’s done with organza and coir worked in a straight pleat and teamed with a trompe-l’oeil trench coat – this is quite simply art.

Galliano pushes his reflection on glamour even further: “Glamour can’t exist without an audience,” he declared. “You can have an intellectual glamour, you can have a sense of humor and be glamorous, but without a public, that light – it doesn’t exist.” Galliano is thus questioning the very essence of haute couture, with a reflection that seems to be going after a number of other couturiers this season. To bring couture out of the museums, Galliano imagines magistral but pragmatic pieces. If Galliano’s aesthetics for Maison Margiela are being specified a bit more in couture, it’s only to better bring out a more earthbound vision. A ready-to-wear version will no doubt be better able to make it to the streets.


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