John Galliano returns to fashion with Margiela couture collection
News: disgraced fashion designer John Galliano has made his catwalk comeback with his inaugural haute-couture collection for Paris house Maison Martin Margiela.
Featuring heavily bejewelled garments and masks, the eagerly anticipated London show was Galliano's first since his dismissal from both French brand Christian Dior and his own label, after being arrested for making anti-semitic remarks during a drunken rant in a Paris cafe in 2011.
London-based Galliano was made creative director of avant-garde label Maison Martin Margiela in October last year in a shock move by the brand, which has previously favoured anonymity for its designers. The house was set up by notoriously reclusive Belgian fashion designer Martin Margiela and showed its first collection in 1989.
A statement from the brand described the latest collection as: "A deep commitment to the extraordinary possibilities of the Maison's Atelier and the art of Haute Couture." It features a mix of fabrics and materials, tailored to create "a new fuller, revealing silhouette".
Shown on a minimal catwalk, the first look from the Artisanal collection was a camel-coloured minidress with trimmings made from black-painted toy cars.
An all-red outfit featured assorted lacquered shells attached on the front of a coat with circular translucent pockets and large cuffs. A tiger-print coat and an off-the-breast dress were also included in the haute-couture collection, which was presented during the London Collections: Men event at a new office building in Victoria, instead of during the dedicated "high-fashion" week in Paris. The brand's statement said that the collection was "a process of discovery, returning to one's roots. Piece by piece, deconstructing and constructing a new story for Margiela."
Galliano's appointment was made by the company's majority stakeholder Renzo Rosso – president of the Only The Brave (OTB) group that also owns fashion brands Diesel, Marni and Viktor & Rolf – who bought Maison Martin Margiela in 2002.
"Martin has not been there for a long time," said Rosso in a public statement in October 2009. "He is here but not here. We have a new fresh design team on board. We are focusing on young, realistic energy for the future; this is really Margiela for the year 2015." A 2009 press release from the brand announced that Margiela had "left" the company and that no new creative director would be appointed.
Gibraltar-born British designer Galliano graduated from London's Central Saint Martins arts school in 1988 and immediately set up his own label, which continues to produce collections without him.
He was appointed as head designer at Givenchy in 1995, a position he held for just over a year before joining Dior, where he was creative director from 1996 until 2011.
Here is a selection of Instagram pictures taken during the show:
This clip of the show's finale, taken by Business of Fashion, shows washed-out layered garments that are adorned with shells.
Jewels and sections of mirror covered the front of a red gown and formed facial features for a fabric mask.
Black-painted toy cars were applied as trimmings around a panelled, camel-coloured minidress – the first look in the collection.
Pale materials were mixed to create asymmetric garments, accompanied by intricate jewellery covering the face.
Tiger stripe was one of the few patterns used across the haute-couture collection.
The show took place in a minimal, intimate space in London's Victoria, where guests sat on white chairs along either side of the catwalk.