A Margiela collection often requires a vocabulary lesson alongside simple aesthetic appreciation. Here, your new MMM terms are "Premiere" (what the house calls its pre-fall line, one that hadn't been shown to the press before this season), "Double Volume" (its play with quick switches between macro and micro proportions), and "Bimaterials" (the typically Margielan—or let's say Maisonian, since the Maître has left the building—practice of juxtaposing two fabrics or materials on top of or adjacent to one another).
For all the neologisms, though, Premiere is as commercial an offering as MMM produces. And while that may offend some of the Margiela Ph.D.s, it's very helpful for reminding old and new fans alike what was unique about the house in the first place—especially at a time when its runway performances aren't what they once were.
The double-volume looks, meanwhile, divide the silhouette into horizontal segments, often using wide suede belts that sit at the waist. Coats boast double armholes: Put your arms through the sleeves or through little sleeveless openings near them—the effect is of wearing your jacket around your shoulders. The bimaterials come into play here, too, as in a coat that's long-haired goat fur above, shorn rabbit below.
The menswear inspiration of last season carries through, with longer, looser pants, oversize men's shirting, even a set of men's pajamas reworked as a brown leather suit. As with many MMM collections, there are some head-scratchers here, too, but for the most part, these are fairly wearable, chic distillations of longtime house interests. In what still feels like a transitional time for the house, that sounds like a pretty good idea—and should tide things over as the label strives to rediscover its cool factor. Cue the upcoming Fall 2011 collaboration with hip retailer Opening Ceremony.