FEATURE | 24, Aug, 2018
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS / JOHN GALLIANO ［English］
Q1. It was only the women’s collection including “Artisanal” that you were designing until 2018-19AW season and this season you’ve officially discovered the first men’s collection – Please tell us the reason why.
——At Maison Margiela, we approach collections in pyramidal construction. At the top of the pyramid is the Artisanal collection, our haute couture. The techniques, silhouettes and themes explored in this collection inform the Défilé, our ready-to-wear, which then filters into every lines we do. Once I had established a language and terminology at the top of the pyramid, I was ready to translate it into menswear.
Q2. What was the first thing you did/ the first step you’ve taken to start creating this collection?
——We quietly worked on cuts for a long time before we decided to do a collection, feeding our Artisanal motifs and techniques into a new men’s wardrobe. I realised everything came together in the very contemporary idea of synergy: wardrobes, codes and values, which, when combined, create a certain chemistry.
Q3. What were the theme/ message you wanted to convey as the first season through this men’s collection? Please also explain further on the theme, “synergy” etc.
——Through the symbolic value of synergy, I wanted to propose a men’s wardrobe that didn’t just join together the fundamental codes of Maison Margiela with more recently introduced motifs but capture a new approach to dressing in which questions of gender and heritage are transcended by the importance of self-expression, individuality, and diversity.
Q4. The house codes that derived from the “Artisanal” collection such as “New Glamour” and “Décortiqué” were interpreted into this men’s collection, what were the differences from women’s collections you’ve created up to today.
——I convey the techniques similarly in menswear as I do in womenswear; both binary labels, which are becoming less important. Decortiqué is a technique I employ to reduce a garment to its core structure, such as the two white trench coats you saw in the final look, layered over a white shirt. It’s a method that was developed in the creation of our idea of proposing a new glamour, in which we explore the authenticity of garments. The ‘inside’, you might say.
Q5. The Maison is defining “New Glamour” through its language. What is “glamour” for men? What defines as glamour and how are you trying to portray glamour through menswear?
——I should clarify that we never set out to define a new glamour. I am fascinated with the idea of proposing a new glamour, a concept rooted in the image of glamour as we know it but de- and reconstructed through the looking glass of time. In that transition, I am simply proposing what a new glamour for men – and women – might possibly mean. Is it a humble men’s over elevated to a new value? Or a trench coat casually thrown on and belted in haste? Maybe it’s an Aran cardigan, hand-knitted and forged in rubber: the memory of something familiar, the image of glamour.
Q6. One of house codes “dressing in haste”, which illustrates those coincidental silhouette and cut, was this an idea from your own experience? If so, please share the story.
——After a bath one night in Paris, exhausted from a long day’s work, it dawned on me that I had forgotten to take the dogs out for their evening walk. Rather than getting fully dressed again, I threw on a Mackintosh coat, wrapped it in a belt and put on my slippers. I bumped into friends and we sat on a bench talking for hours. I felt so great in that coat, so glamorous. And it sparked these new ideas for me.
Q7. Please explain further on another code “Appropriate the Inappropriate”. What kind of different elements are chosen as inappropriate and how are they eventually appropriate?
——Appropriating the inappropriate is the notion of shifting the preconceived value of a garment into something new. It’s the idea of scaling down the proportion of a jacket into a shirt, or casting knitwear in rubber: elements considered appropriate for one aspect of the wardrobe, turned into something else.
Q8. What are the most complex/ complicated point on the process of “Décortiqué”?
——Applying the technique of decortiqué to a garment, we want to reveal the authentic structure hidden behind the surface. In that sense, one can’t simply start cutting through the garment. Rather, one has to detect the essential structure that binds it together and unveil what can be exposed in the process. It’s a figurative way of cutting.
Q9. In the past, the Maison reworked, reconstructed and reinterpreted ideas from its heritage and taken a hint from a historical figure or outfit/costume. On the other hand, today the Maison takes hints from unconscious glamour and gestures from everyday life, and studying each garment or wardrobe well. Did creative process and approach changed from previous way?
——In my communication with Martin Margiela prior to entering the Maison, he relayed to me the importance of interpreting his codes rather than mimicking them. Since then I have studied the codes of the Maison while imbuing it with new developments.
Q10. How much archives and footsteps of the Maison do you follow and how much of your own style and ideas do you adopt into creating Maison Margiela?
——Once one is establishing a pyramidical approach to one’s work within a maison like Margiela, it’s a very organic process. Everything we do happens within the walls of these ateliers, surrounded by history and a passionate desire for new discoveries.
Q11. With SNS and the fast fashion cycle, times are changing and always evolving. How are you/ your creation facing these changes?
——I am excited about the developments in fashion and in the world that surrounds us. Through the stagiaires who spend a year with us here in the ateliers, I am taking in the millennial mindset up close. It’s something that very much relates to the changes in fashion, and I try to take inspiration from all of it. My Artisanal men’s collection in June, for instance, was a reaction to the waves of streetwear currently hitting the menswear landscape. I thought, how can I propose my own alternative – what I, as a dressmaker, know best – for a new generation?
Q12. There seem to be no boundaries between men and women in today’s fashion, just like how the Maison bases and shared the same house codes between men’s and women’s collection. Is there an example/ piece that are based on womenswear which has been transformed into menswear to portray “glamour”, such as the women’s coat which was interpreted from men’s wardrobe?
——Certainly, I think the appearance of the bias cut in menswear would be a good example of such a transition, or the double-breasted decortiqué greatcoat worn with a cut-off bustier that we cut from a rodeo jacket.
Q13. How far into the future do you see/plan for the Maison, including the direction and vision of the brand? Or do you concentrate just on the next/upcoming Defile collection each time?
——The pyramidical structure, as I explained, creates a natural mechanism for the way we develop our collections. Within this methodology a certain projection is a given, but I remain open to inspiration from my surroundings every day.
Q14. Has anything with your private time or lifestyle changed since your inauguration as Creative Director at Maison Margiela?
——I approach my work very much step by step. I take time off. And I’ve learned to find beauty in imperfection. Being able to create in this way is a very exhilarating feeling.
Q15. Are you wearing “blouse blanche” when you are working in the atelier?
——We wear it in our ateliers with great pleasure.