When he was working on his first menswear show for Maison Margiela, John Galliano painted a symbol -an inverted triangle with a circle in its centre that he calls a glyph – in bright yellow over the runway. “It stands for synergy,” he said. Into it we can read the melding of two ways of thinking: the house methodology of Martin Margiela and his own. In a preview, he brought out one incredible example of where Margiela’s reputation for tailoring met Galliano technique in the shape of a drapey, double-breasted Yves Klein blue tailored suit. “You see—it’s entirely bias cut. Just like one of my dresses!” he laughed. “Major!”
Major, indeed. A wearer might not fully appreciate it, but the accumulation of couture know-how that went into achieving that louchely fluid look took years. Galliano’s technical ingenuity and enthusiasm for this fresh project took joyful wing throughout this collection. As playful as it was substantial, it reapplied lots of the ideas he’s been working at in the womenswear collections over the past few seasons – the notion of “dressing in haste” and the filleted garment structures, but most importantly, the idea of “proposing a new glamour.”
What is glamorous clothing for a man? It could certainly mean the swaggering coats of head-turning scale and proportions Galliano showed, starting with the red one that opened the presentation. He fed his English gentleman Savile Row sensibility into a black military overcoat spliced onto the core of a trad trenchcoat and placed a pristine white mackintosh second to the end of the show. The quality was obvious in an impeccable grey pin-striped suit which was also in the tradition of Martin Margiela, who was always known by aficionados for the classics he produced under the 14 line.
In here, too, were plenty of wardrobe pieces for a young man: a red nylon Steve McQueen–style motorcycle jacket tucked into chinos, a giant yellow puffer with décortiqué shearling edging, and the new SMS “Security Margiela Sneaker.” There was a lot going on, but it had a clarity, variety, and optimism that indicated that this synergy is going places.
This article first appeared on Vogue.com.