Yesterday at the Maison Des Métallos, the white of Maison Martin Margiela covered walls and floors, rising up to greet the afternoon’s arrivals and ushering them into the Grande Salle – a room transformed for a day into a meeting place with a tranquility unexpected of January’s menswear shows. Striding out from an indiscernible entrance, models walk around the room before eventually sitting at tables, quietly speaking to guests, nodding and laughing and inviting them to touch the clothing.
Inspired this season by the abstraction of black and white photography, the Maison has experimented with endless variations of simple prints, black, white and grey to reveal progressions in brightness and texture. An x-ray of stripes, checks and dots references positives and negatives, and mixing graphic elements gives subtle results with a laser-perforated microdot wool or contrasting shiny nappa leather and rich grey flannel. It is the graphic elements and textures that give life to an almost monochromatic colour palette. And it is the artisanal pieces which reinforce the singularity of Maison Martin Margiela: shiny translucent sequins embroidered on a pair of jeans or a fronted shirt or a wasitcoat embroidered with leather dots on plastic pistils.
Sophisticated and gentlemanly, the collection shows maturity and detail. Experimenting with a silhouette that is lean yet soft, Maison Martin Margiela has introduced a new round shoulder in their outerwear, form-fitting and precisely made, and as comfortable as a cardigan. Jackets made in water-repellent Prince-of-Wales wool and black nappa-leather t-shirts fall closely against the body. Naturally-waisted pants and Haramaki tube belts maintain impressions of slenderness. It is apparent that the Maison has paid close attention to atmosphere in this most recent collection – and with great success.