Fifty minutes of behind-the-scenes footage following the making of Margiela’s artisanal co-ed collection “S.W.A.L.K.” is perhaps one of the best things to come out of fashion history’s first ever digital couture week. Below, we pick apart the Nick Knight-directed gem starring team Galliano.
Why am I not surprised that Margiela has a pyramid cosmogram? Although I’m surprised that they’d make such in-house information available to all of us. In an animated KeyNote slide we see several of the house codes that Galliano has mentioned repeatedly in interviews, like the idea of genderless dressing, the anonymity of the lining, and that ancestral hand-me-down look. There are also several things that are new, at least to me, like “dressing in haste,” which make perfect sense,when you think about that whole Margiela vibe.
The Margiela ethos is a lot about deconstruction, and Galliano pretty much explained how they do it: “I’ll express myself to the kids, and we’ll tear off charity shop finds. That whole process is emotional, it’s so beautiful.”
One of the season’s main themes is “poetry in movement”, with photos of dance artists like Martha Graham and Isadora Duncan in the mood board. It’s an interesting starting point for fashion, since the clothes in modern dance are not the heavily embroidered confections that couture is known for.
Did the Duchess of Marlborough really have wax injections in her nose? Yes, apparently. Gladys Deacon, later Spencer-Churchill, had a cosmetic procedure done when she was 22, where paraffin wax was injected to her nose and jaw. It was a disaster. She ordered all mirrors to be removed from her rooms.
One of the main inspirations for the collection are marble sculptures of veiled figures. One of them is The Veiled Virgin, a bust of carved out of Carrara marble by the Italian sculptor Giovanni Strazza, around the early 1850s. According to an interview with art historian Claire Barbillon, wet drapery is a sculpture tradition that dates back to the Greco-Hellenistic era. Asked about the erotic dimension of the veil technique, Barbillon says that “the shift from the sacred to the profane is also characteristic of the Baroque as a whole,” which I must say is very Margiela.
“I was tapping back into the Blitz Kids, funny enough I’ve never tapped back into it,” Galliano says. The Blitz Kids were the mainstays of the night club Blitz in Covent Garden in London, in 1979 and 1980, and are the pioneers of New Romantic look, which mixed glam rock with late 18th century and late 19th century aesthetics.
Probably my favorite bit from the whole thing, was when Galliano pulled up photos from the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943, which were “a series of violent clashes during which mobs of U.S. servicemen, off-duty police officers and civilians brawled with young Latinos and other minorities in Los Angeles.” Incidentally, there is a new graphic novel inspired by these events that just came out, Marco Finnegan’s Lizard in A Zoot Suit, about “a geophysicist who convinced the L.A. city government to let him search for underground tunnels that allegedly belonged to a lost race of lizard people.”
So I also Googled “Nijinsky makes love to a scarf.” That scandalous moment was from the ballet L’apres-midi d’un faune (The Afternoon of a Faun), which was first performed by the Ballets Russes at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris in 1912. Vaslav Nijinsky’s ballet was slammed by the press for “vile movements of erotic bestiality and gestures of heavy shamelessness.” The second performance was sold out, which police also attended to check out what’s up.
Calum Knight is wearing a Stefan Cooke sweater, which we have picked up on some time ago. I have yet to cop one, so this was a good reminder.
If you’re ever wondered how Pat McGrath pitches an idea, here is your answer. She doesn’t just show photos, but a video (!) of a makeup test on a model, showing the possible versions of a makeup look. That 180-degree turn! Even John was feeling the vibe.
Digital projections as the “final print” of the look! How insane is that? Are mini handheld projectors fashion’s next essential accessory? You heard it here first.