Gothic Cinema and Haute Couture Run Concurrent In Maison Margiela's 2022 Artisanal Collection 

Gothic Cinema and Haute Couture Run Concurrent In Maison Margiela's 2022 Artisanal Collection 

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Gothic Cinema and Haute Couture Run Concurrent In Maison Margiela's 2022 Artisanal Collection 

Maison Margiela's 2022 couture show was a brimming cinematic production narrating the fictional tale of two ill-fated lovers, Count and Hen.

Maison Margiela's 2022 couture show was a brimming cinematic production narrating the fictional tale of two ill-fated lovers, Count and Hen.

Text: Maddie Street

"Make-believe is driven by instinct."

For the 2022 Artisanal Collection by Maison Margiela, the designer exuberated imaginary expressions of our innermost thrills and tribulations. Presented at the Palais de Chaillot, the house stages "Cinema Inferno," an assemblage performance piece conceived in symbiosis with the Haute Couture collection.

Through identifying a post-digital desire for physicality, the infamous fashion house crafts a multidisciplinary format - a theater played out in front of live spectators, captured by cameras that fuse with the performance in a film that is simultaneously broadcasted to a digital audience. The narrative was created by John Galliano and brought to the stage through the collaboration with the British theater troupe, Imitating the Dog.

A Southern Gothic tale unveils itself in America's dark, poetic heart as a sandstorm engulfs the story's ill-fated lovers, Count and Hen. On the run and wounded from a gunfight, they drive through the Arizona desert in a cinematic haze as their pasts flash before their eyes: the wedding of their abusive single parents that made them involuntary step-siblings, the elation of Hen's pregnancy, and the subsequent parricide that turned them into outlaws at large. Delirious from their getaway, they pull up to an isolated hotel only to discover that it is, in fact, a cinema. Here, as they draw their last breaths, Count and Hen fall into a cinematic loop spun from the joys and traumas of their subconscious, their memories echoed in the iconic scenes of classic American films. Finally, chased by apparitions of the law, they end up where they set out and escape through the sandstorm.

Emphasized through the grammar of Haute Couture, the collection and film integrate representations of the patriarchal abuse of power – parental, legal, educational, religious, and medical – in fabric and cutting techniques developed in the Artisanal atelier. Power-cut staples from the men’s wardrobe evoke the memory of Geneva Bands, classic couture silhouettes are imbued with the language of surgical scrubs, and sorbet-colored prom expressions appear slashed and spliced.

Sandstorming, a new Maison Margiela motif that intricately creates the impression of a sandstorm in a garment or accessory, features in fully engineered fabric weaves, in needle-punching, flocking, or beading. Recicla pieces employ antique 19th century bed linens and collage original 20th designer pumps into new manifestations. These garments are partly crafted from jacquards created through a painstaking process in which sand is sprayed out over a fabric and transformed into a print, which is, in turn, engineered as a jacquard.

Spectral Cowboy characters appear in the authentic materials of the Western wardrobe, such as Loden wool, flannel, herringbone, coated felted wool, velvet, coated velvet, and denim. Plaids feature in collaboration with Pendleton and are further interpreted in tulle. Prom dresses are constructed in tulle and double-duchess silk satin, while teen band member characters are featured in bark cloth and brocade. Silhouettes imbued with the lines of scrubs draw on the clinical sensibilities of neoprene, piqué, brushed bouclé, nylon, foam, and crin.

Paintings of American scenery by the 20th-century realist Andrew Wyeth inform a palette founded in the desert neutrals of the dark, poetic heartland, with memories of the sand of Arizona; black, anthracite, gray, gold, beige and white, as employed in the wardrobe of Count and the Spectral Cowboys. Prom looks assume the colors of sorbets, from berries and lavender to melon, peach, and lemon. In this theater, the clinical hues of scrubs set the tone for medical takes on graphite, green, blue, teal, and petrol. Ruby gloves, pumps, and bags pay homage to cinematic glamor.

Watch the full show below:

Credits: Images Courtesy of Maison Margiela

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