A designer's decision on how to stage a show—on a catwalk or as a presentation—is often an arbitrary one. In the case of today's debut of Maison Martin Margiela's collaborative effort with the hip retailer Opening Ceremony, however, the staging had a clear underlying logic. The clothes and accessories that comprise the capsule were on display, and could be handled and studied, but it was essential that models also come out wearing the looks, not so they be shown, but because they had to be demonstrated. The first-ever Margiela brand collaboration features adaptable looks—20 in total, or 60 if you split them into their component parts—and they work together in nearly numberless ways. The easy way to explain the concept is, essentially: things that fit over other things.
One example: a fitted, quilted leather bomber with short sleeves and its partner, a shiny nylon jacket with sleeves that matched the bomber leather. Each piece could be worn separately, or they could be put together for a seamless look. For that matter, they could be slotted together with other looks; the nylon bomber lining, for instance, looked rather smart underneath a chubby faux fur with sleeves cut off at the same length as the bomber.
It would be impossible to catalog all the possibilities for mix-and-match here, but suffice to say that the collection was as chic as it was clever. A particularly strong coordinated set comprised a short, matte satin cocktail dress with a knit turtleneck collar, and a drapey V-neck T-shirt dress that could be worn over it, or alone. Another was the cable-knit vests and fitted knit dresses with cabled sleeves that could be combined to color-block, or to create a seamless Aran sweater effect. (And so on, ad infinitum.) The accessories were also particularly good—simple stack-heel boots that married with matching leather stirrup spats, and a truly all-in-one tote bag with exterior pockets that snapped off to make a coin purse and a clutch. The folks at MM6 haven't yet decided whether this collaboration is a one-off or if it will be a recurring effort. Here's hoping that by the time customers have mastered the possibilities of this collection, there'll be another one in the works.