Maison Margiela Commemorates a Youth Revolution with SS19 Collection

By Taraneh Azar

Jonas Gustavsson / MCV Photo for The Washington Post

Jonas Gustavsson / MCV Photo for The Washington Post

Designer John Galliano’s latest Maison Margiela presentation celebrated the progressive qualities of millennial and Gen Z cultural adaptations while setting the bar for fashion, culture, and social expectations of the greater global community.

The Tuesday morning show acted not only to present John Galliano’s latest Ready to Wear collection for the house, but also to launch the designer’s first fragrance for the house–”Maison Margiela’s Mutiny.”

Kim Weston Arnold / for Vogue

The story behind the fragrance coincides with the youth revolution theme of the collection. As Galliano put it in a podcast titled The Memory of… With John Galliano: “I deconstructed normative values and turned them into a hyper-faceted reconstruction, distilled in a fragrance for the future.” Speaking of his inspiration, Galliano explained, "it started with the idea of mutiny. There were things that were happening around me in the world, there was a lot of political unrest in Paris, then the Women’s March in America–the biggest march in the history of America . . . it was the courage of turning your back and standing up for what you believe in.” The fragrance aired throughout the Grand Palais while ads featuring campaign stars Willow Smith, Princess Nokia, Teddy Quinlivan, Sasha Lane, and others opened the show.

Beyond the perfume launch, Galliano’s presentation celebrated an increasing fluidity in gender presentation and a lack of tolerance for outdated social norms. The show was largely a commemoration of freedom of expression, as reflected in both his defiant approach to styling his models in garment that went against sanctioned gendered expectations and the changing functionality of the garments presented. With a manifesto of nonconformity, Galliano presents a collection that blurs the boundaries of the gender binary.

Oversized capes, ponchos, dresses and repurposed materials of all types categorized the collection. Translucent plastic mosaic skirts weaved together with grommeted silver hardware were styled with deconstructed blazer-vest hybrids. iPhones on mounts similar to those seen in Ubers and Lyfts were attached to chunky platform boots, referencing the instant availability of information that dictates 21st-century society. Gutted ponchos and wool coats styled with swimming caps led way to vinyl pants, which coincided with headphones sticking out of rigid handbags  and sweaters as belts. Galliano swapped the iconic Tabi boot for chunky, oversized platforms and sleek pointed-toe chelsea boots. One-piece forms and oversized and floppy suits led way to iridescent gold sculptural pieces and dresses, a traditionally feminine garment, for all models regardless of gender presentation.

The presentation resembled a group of people about to go swimming, but desperate to bring their sleeping bags and pillows just in case. Largely, the collection challenged many of the social norms that older generations remain disillusioned to yet younger, upcoming generations embrace with open arms. The well-established house managed to not only present a collection unlike any other, but also set a new bar and code of conduct. To quote Galliano, with Gen Z “there are no rules—you write the book.” See for yourself.