Big shoulders, bright colors come alive at Margiela

Jan 24 - In the former school that now houses its atelier, Maison Martin Margiela presented a collection rich in voluminous shoulders and bright fuchsias on the first day of the Paris couture shows.

Outfits with high collars, simple backs and high, built-up shoulders were modelled one-by-one in intimate morning and afternoon viewing sessions, with room for only about 25 guests at a time.

Maison Martin Margiela; Paris Haute Couture Show; S/S '11 collection (photo: Pixel Formula)

In the midst of this simple setting, the pieces themselves popped with colour, woven textures and strong forms.

"The collection is inspired by flowers, either from their shape, their colour or their texture," said a spokesperson for the fashion house.

In a twist on a classic, a blue poplin dress-shirt was transformed by a high-collared bed of flower buds made from patterned fabrics, while the model's form was visible through cut-outs in the shape of petals. (below)

Maison Martin Margiela (photo: Pixel Formula)

In another piece, an evening gown in bright pinks and turquoise sparkled with sequins made out of colourful plastic bags.

Such everyday items are what set such artisanal collections like this one apart from haute couture, the spokesman said.

Although recycled items have been a tradition at Maison Martin Margiela since its opening in 1988, the company has held full artisanal collections since 2006.

"The traces of time are kept and it becomes like a second life given to the object," explained another member of the house, who in a spirit of discretion asked to remain anonymous.

Each garment was reworked by hand in the Paris atelier, with materials chosen from around the world.

Maison Martin Margiela (photo: Pixel Formula)

Other recycled items on view at this collection were paisley-printed scarves and iridescent paper.

In one outfit, paisley-printed scarves had been braided into thick ropes and draped to resemble a cable-knit sweater.

In another, iridescent paper was wrapped around the body in the form of a short cocktail dress to resemble packaging at flower shops.

Intricate, structured fronts recalled the complexity of blossoms while sleek, form-hugging backs, often cropped short, hinted at a flower's stem.

Maison Martin Margiela clothes are marked by a simple tag in the back that is either blank or with only the number of the line to further downplay the brand name.

by Winnie Andrews

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