Maison Martin Margiela
February 25, 2007 Paris
This sharp shape was a starting point for a total look. Essentially, it tapered downward to high-waisted narrow skirts or black leg casings that were a strange amalgam of ski pants and long-line girdle. Mad as this sounds, there was a dramatic, graphic elegance in the way Margiela worked the theme through black and white, with contrasting shots of fluorescent pink and lime. The big shoulders didn't always literally make a rod for a woman's back. He moved from squared-off capes through conceptual boleros constructed of strands of looped wool or giant tubes of tulle-covered padding. But then came the luxe part, sans superstructure. There were rabbit-fur jackets with huge cowls, and a couple of glam backless shaggy goat halters that gave a clever twist to the season's ubiquitous chubbies.
Yes, this is avant-garde fashion pushed to its most extreme limits, and many women will be scared to death by it. On the other hand, if the reaction to Margiela's last collection is anything to go by, editors will rush to shoot it, and other designers will quietly absorb its signals as a way to move forward.