Mood board: Last season, Maison Margiela presented its menswear collection just as the results of the EU referendum were announced. This time around, the brand’s presentation fell on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration. So who knows what we can expect come June this year? In times of political uncertainty, as always, the response from the creative community has been to make more art. Following a major exhibition last summer at the Pompidou Centre, the designers at Margiela looked to the Beat Generation – that oft-referenced period in the 1950s which saw hordes of city-dwelling teens reject the conventional in favour of self-expression and bebop. This was a brave new world of poetry, philosophy and pizzazz.
Scene setting: The Beat Generation 2.0 sat in peaceful protest. A milieu of artists and philosophers had been cast, wearing clothes that were unapologetically French; a Rive Gauche loucheness. The house’s well explored military references were here made a little softer and free of anger and violence. The clothes all had a worn-in, confident wit to them. One boy sat quietly bent into his copy of Henri Bergson’s The World of Dreams, studying a chapter on space and homology. Our future will perhaps seem a little less bleak wearing a grey Prince of Wales check overcoat and split cuff trousers.
Finishing touches: With its cerebral dedication to the process of making, the label chose to leave many of the clothes incomplete, as if their creators had been interrupted. The shoulders of a tailored jacket were left with their topstitching and with unfinished prints. Split shirting, cord-tied outerwear and hand knit sweaters or natural shearlings were sprayed with positive, upbeat colour.