The ingenuity of the Martin Margiela Maisonettes is beyond question. The double-breasted suits that opened the label's latest menswear presentation were, on closer inspection, jumpsuits. It was an impressive illusion, even if it rather begged the question, why? You could almost ask the same thing about a sweater patchworked from fishermen's woolen beanies. There was a time when Margiela's creative recycling of ex-clothes had some socioeconomicopolitical heft, but, unless there's been a glut of beanies—or a paucity of fisherfolk—that passed us by, this item was an amusing gimmick, especially when placed beside a duffel patched from fur, which one assumed was an earnest effort to inject new life into something old and dead.
Still, at least the gimmick was amusing. And it was ultimately in tune with the imperative of the Margiela ethos: Challenge all you know. Turn that shearling inside out and wear it as a woolly bomber. Because, for all we know, there may come a time when the only wool left in the world is in knitted caps.
There was a preview of such a place at the end of the show when, after a parade of plain but pleasant clothes, a couple of ponchos appeared, cobbled together from the ruins of old leather jackets by post-apocalyptic bikers. The black one in particular was so strong and creepy that it threw the collection right off center. Which is exactly where the Maisonettes want it to be.