At a Maison Martin Margiela
show it can occasionally feel like the design team is ticking off boxes: Deconstruction? Check. Wacky tailoring? Check. Face-obscuring trick? Check. Last season it was the models' own hair wrapped around their heads. Today it was turtlenecks that reached almost up to their eyeballs. A new, exaggerated volume was the collection's central conceit. But if the work sticks pretty much to a formula, there's still plenty to like about it.
The tuxedo jackets that opened the show were faultlessly constructed; their matching pants appeared entirely normal from the front until the models turned and you realized that the hems were several inches shorter in back. A pair of capes also played the trompe l'oeil card. It wasn't until they breezed on by that it became apparent that their rounded, cocoonlike shape was created by sleeves stitched into pockets.
Deconstruction took two forms. In one case, the designers cut up and reassembled printed kimono fabric, and in the other they sliced away portions of pleated maxi skirts at the hip. The former was more thought-provoking.
Still, the greatest success of this collection was its no-brainers: A pair of double-breasted, stand-up collar coats, one in navy and the other camel, had a straight-up appeal that was hard to argue with.