There is nothing like a Margiela show to split opinion. Especially one that is reverentially Margiela, that is to say full of less easily understood pieces, in the manner of the designer himself, Martin Margiela, who left the house in 2009.
Watching a show like Margiela, there is an overwhelming desire to ask Would I wear that? This is, of course, not the point. It isnt personal. It wasnt designed for us. The question is whether it was a collection that the ardent Margiela fan would love.
The answer to that is probably yes. First, those difficult pieces (which a Margiela devotee would not find difficult in the least); the rough wool stitching on slim net tops that might look to the un-attuned eye like a child went mad with a sewing sample; the robes of words, literally long dresses with the word DEFILE (French for fashion show) that had been cut up and reassembled; the nipped-waist bomber jacket with cuffs so big they would have reached the knees had they not been worn flipped back to reveal the lining; the 1970s tan (Heinz baked bean colour) patent leather sleeveless jacket worn with wide orange trousers and a pink string-vest knit. All this, Martin Margiela himself might have approved. Or perhaps not; one could never assume to know what Margiela was thinking.
Some might also say the first batch of tailoring was difficult, as it featured brush stripes of paint, in warning-sign-yellow or pink, down the seams of trouser legs and on the cuffs of a coat and a shirt. But few could deny the beauty of the tailoring that put darts and seams on the outside, the better to show of their pin-sharpness. On the back of each jacket or shirt, right between the shoulder blades, was a belt loop that served as a grip to keep the models long hair in place - a neat styling device.
As for the bags and shoes, these were nowhere near as audacious as a vintage Margiela show leather boots with stiletto heels trapped in Perspex block heels looked remarkably saleable. The bags were equally, dare we say it, commercial, in large flat envelope form in orange, black and grey.
Love it or not, this was Maison Martin Margiela autumn/winter 2013.