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Maison Martin Margiela SS '11

Margiela shows spring summer collection with subtle tailoring in cinema, using both filmed and live models...

Martin Margiela may have left the building, but his Maison is still going strong, if the brand’s Spring 2011 menswear collection is anything to go by. Indeed, at the ever-conceptual fashion house’s latest presentation this Saturday in Paris its white-clad staff seemed to be provocatively delighting in notions of absence and presence. Attendees were ushered into a subterranean cinema, where a film of models being photographed in various locations around the city was echoed by live counterparts walking in front of the projection screen, sometimes repeating the actions behind them, sometimes filling an empty white space.

Such a repetitive procedure prompted a few questions—which actions were posed and which fake? Why were some models missing from the film? Of course there were no answers, but even the most curious could spare a thought for the clothes themselves — a series of simple looks that focused on tailoring and the geometry of the rectangle, which was reworked into ingenious front-hanging waistcoats, and served as the template for the unfussy, almost plain silhouette.

Materials were used in typically ingenious ways: a thin, pliable wood became a substitute for leather in waistcoats and large cummerbunds, while jackets were made from guinea fowl feathers to resemble a dressy jacquard textile. Tailoring details were subtle, often obscured by thin leather panels on the front of blazers (which this season come without lapels), and this simplicity was carried through to the sweaters and tees, which were rendered in unusual woven fabrics such as wool crepe and a cutton/cupro blend. It was an understated offering, but for fans of the Maison’s wry, deconstructive tendencies, there was also plenty on offer, including a gridded leather jacket, a faded tattoo-print tee and stripped-leather tank tops.