John Galliano has always shown a talent for staging, both when he worked at Dior and in his presentations for Maison Margiela. His presentation of the Maison Margiela Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2022 collection was no exception, taking on the feel of an innovative theatrical, physical and digital performance.
The performance, titled ‘’Cinema Inferno’’ and adapted by the British theater company Imitating the Dog, mixing theater and rudimentary special effects, is actually a “film” played and recorded for a live audience at the Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris. The models lip-synced to a pre-recorded soundtrack while the live film played out in real time.
The collection centered on the imaginary love story of two doomed characters, Count and Hen, who travel through the hot, foggy Arizona desert – wounded by gunfire and engulfed by a sandstorm while fleeing the authorities.
“They’re Hen and Count, driving through this mythical Arizona desert. They’re shot up”, Galliano narrated. “Then, we have what we call ‘spectral cowboys’ who come to assail them. Representatives of abuse of power, whether it’s the judge, the preacher, medicine, certain toxic relationships, patriarchal societies, and on and on…”.
Centered on two lovers, the psychodrama combined disparate elements of western and horror reminiscent of such film classics as The Golden Wizard, The Wild Ride, Bonnie and Clyde, Kill Bill, as well as a host of B-movies for a whirlwind of action-packed scenes.
True to Maison Margiela fashion, the characters were dressed in stunning clothing: sculptural coats inspired by the golden age of Hollywood, sandstorm-weathered coats whose shadowy, creviced surfaces were created with micro-beading, voluminous coats made from neoprene, nylon or curly wool, cowboy dusters, sequined teddy boy jackets or recycled pieces made from 19th century bed linens.
Each creation unfolded in intricate cuts and unexpected combinations of materials, sometimes developed just for the collection like the Sandstorming jacquard. It was a stunning and totally incredible experience, and an absolute game changer for the future of fashion shows.