Marion Cotillard turned up at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this week in a minidress from Maison Martin Margiela's Artisanal collection, densely embroidered from neckline to hem with multicolor buttons, crystals, and various other doodads. By and large, the label's new Resort collection is far less embellished, but the lab-coated designers in the MMM studios can't resist making their tweaks. A sweater is never just a sweater, instead it's a little pink mohair knit with detachable shrug sleeves. Jackets, as smartly tailored as usual, feature linings that peek out from lapels and sleeves, or entire second jackets that can be layered or worn separately. Pants were mostly left alone—why mess with a good thing? But skirts were a different story; one leather style was actually a vest worn inside out and snapped around the waist over black stirrup pants.

The MMM ethos is to challenge expectations. They created "summer fur" by quilting raffia for a bomber jacket, and turned tweed into a warm-weather fabric by weaving laminated threads. But if they're fashion intellectuals, it's not only about experimentation for experimentation's sake. They also like to have their fun. The girl who wears their glass-beaded backless bib and tuxedo pants on the red carpet is guaranteed to have plenty fun of her own.