Maison Margiela Fall/Winter 2016
Maison Margiela Fall/Winter 2016

Mid-morning in Paris, the city still under gray skies with wisps of rain here and there just to help make things uncomfortable. Street style photographers are having a bit of a rough go as no one really cares to stop and pose or, in many cases, even bother to look up. The air is just cool enough to be uncomfortable and getting to one’s destination is a priority.

For all that has changed since John Galliano took the reigns at Maison Margiela, it is a bit comforting to see the hosts still wearing the white lab coats as they help guests to their seats. That simple, sterile look is a welcome contrast from the seas of black that are so common and the contests among guests to see who is styled better.

Simple ended with those white coats, though. There is nothing simple about this collection as Galliano seemed to quite literally throw everything he could get his hands on at this collection. These are some of the most complicated looks we’ve seen from this label and, while several of them are quite attractive and practical, there are others that would likely need the help of an assistant for one to get dressed of the morning. This isn’t the largest collection ever, but there is still a great deal of content in just a few ensembles.

Galliano seems to take a collage approach to this season, not only piecing together contrasting fabrics and colors, but covering coats and jackets in bits and pieces as though they were a craft project. In most cases, the look is rather cool and interesting, but at times there is so much going on that one gets dizzy trying to take it all in.

Among the highlights from this collection are huge knitted sleeve covers, such as the ones seen in the first look, immense and sometimes highly decorated belt buckles, and a return of the giant bows that we saw in New York and London. Of all those, the huge belts and buckles may make the most sense. There are so many layers to these looks that belting becomes requisite. We see gathered layers of tulle, knits, and metallics one on top of the other and it is the belts that not only hold the pieces in place but provide a central point of cohesion for the entire ensemble.

Big coats and capes are definitely a thing this season and Galliano is sure to get his share into the mix. We’ve seen bomber jackets of some kind in almost every collection to come down a walkway, but Galliano quite brilliantly gives us a different twist with a bomber cape. This is one of those ideas that, when you see it, one wonders why we’ve not seen this concept before. The look, complete with distressed leather, is one that makes you feel instantly warmer and is going to go very well with many of earth-toned ensembles in this collection.

The other major piece is a teddy jacket covered in rolled stones. This was instantly a big hit on the runway and the jacket is the most photographed piece on social media this morning. There may be a couple of downsides to this piece, though. First, it’s going to be very heavy. I mean, it is literally covered in rocks. Wearing it is not for those of weak constitution. One would also need to exercise some care as to where it is placed. Tossing this jacket could actually do some damage to whatever it lands upon.

Interestingly enough, there’s also an ensemble in this collection that, like Jacquemus yesterday, puts a dress on the outside of another garment. In Galliano’s case, the dress is exterior to a light blue coat. This version is probably a little more practical than Jacquemus’ version, but it is still an unexpected look that will undoubtedly garner a lot of attention.

This is a very bright and colorful collection that was most welcome on such a gray and dreary day in the middle of a gray and somewhat dreary season. Galliano’s style constantly pushes at the edges without severely sacrificing wearability. He and the Margiela tradition are getting along well and I think we can look forward to even more creative collections ahead.

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