Maison Martin Margiela
January 18, 2008 Paris
Aggression seeped out of a barbed-wire motif that manifested itself variously as the buckle on a belt, a ring, and a rubber body piece (unusually conceptual for Margiela). A print featured chain-link fencing. The accessory collection was all about jewelry that looked like it had been crushed by a truck. And boots produced in a limited edition of 100 were spray-painted with a fearsome skull motif. Even the crackled-wax finish on trousers suggested some kind of violence. It was all so far away from the Margiela we know and love that it exerted a sick fascination that spilled over into a nylon jacket defined by a big red "M" (why was Michael Jackson insinuating himself into a Martin Margiela collection?) and a T-shirt, also distinguished by a giant "M" in a gaffer-tape print.
The sense of post-apocalyptic make-do was mercifully balanced by a small group of hyper-polished tailoring. And the scaliness of a snakeskin printed on velvet might have had the requisite creepiness for the collection, but it also endorsed the fetishistic fabric research that has always made the house of Margiela such a disturbing, delightful proposition. The leather bags had apparently been waxed, microwaved, and baked. They smelled like it. And the sunglasseswraparounds called L'Incognitowould turn anyone into a Zylon. Call him fearless, but with this collection Martin Margiela isn't looking to make the world a kinder place.