John Galliano's latest couture presentation in Paris heralding his Maison Margiela spring 2019 collection truly pulls out all the stops.

Everything about it — from the geometric silhouettes to the psychedelic use of color — provokes a visceral reaction. This ability to capture shock and humor within immaculately constructed garments is a longstanding trademark of the provocative, thoughtful Galliano. But at a closer look shows how he plays up the impracticality of haute couture while also exercising restraint, both in the fabrics used and the exacting cuts.

In addition to the shapes used for the clothes, ghoulish beauty looks and Mary Jane shoes help anchor a gender-fluid collection otherwise running wild with fresh ideas. The first eight looks in the 34-look show feature co-ed models in mummifying jumpsuits with surprising details, from see-through panels, graffiti patterns, appliqued flowers, or feather trimming. The models wear headpieces reminiscent of Japanese anime characters and Legend of Zelda games. Elsewhere, there are occasional low-cut frocks and one-piece looks that come alive with 3D-printed optical illusions.

Deconstructed trenches with bows and buttons alternate between styles befitting members of the parish or life-size dolls. Either way, those fantastical coats likely require an army of type-A assistants to wiggle into, and yet, we still want one of each. The show closes with an intentional emphasis on Galliano's more restrained tendencies, scaling things back with beautifully tailored, asymmetrical suiting in neutral tones and sexy peek-a-boo reveals.

But really, what feels most remarkable here is Galliano's restless creativity, like the mad scientist who, in a flash of clarifying brilliance, created Frankenstein, but made it fashion. It pulses with the undeniable energy of a top-marks design student fresh out of Central Saint Martins, ready to conquer the world, but somehow spiritually connected to Galliano's expertise and, perhaps, just a touch of that mad-scientist genius.

Photos via Imaxtree


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