A slightly off-kilter exploration of friendship according to MM6 SS17.
Paint the town
The ever-conceptual and somewhat vague house of Martin Margiela did not ease off for their MM6 diffusion line’s SS17 presentation. Set amongst what appeared to be canvases wrapped in brown paper, ready to reveal the beautiful artwork it is protecting, there were slightly creepy-looking mannequins stood atop hills of black shavings of some sort. Yes, bizarre. But MM6 does not do easy. An art class of some sort? The garments sure looked like something art students might wear, if only based on the splashes of white paint across shoes and a leather coat, or the brushstrokes on jackets tracing pockets and seams. Aside from the actual garments bearing marks which revealed the wearer’s profession, the venue, Christie’s obviously (!), was transformed into a fully working art studio, where artists and painters dressed in the iconic Margiela white lab coats painted and customised 100 of the brand’s classic Japanese denim bags (up for grabs in their London boutique) in real time. Leftover paint was poured and smeared over the clothing at the end of the presentation, naturally.
All together now
In the burst of creativity, the artists did not just stick to the bags and the garments, but began writing on the structure which formed the set. Multiples of ‘hugs and kisses’ began to materialise on the walls, giving us a hint at the meaning behind the inspiration – togetherness and friendship. Within the collection, the came through as two similar looks were shown together, as two friends hanging around. So there were the two leather looks, a biker dress and a boxy top, complete with raffia bags worn as hats. Two slips dresses and two full-camo looks also appeared side by side. Elsewhere, the designs are made to appear as though two people have been entwined in an embrace. So there were the rugby-style sleeves on stripy t-shirts, excess fabric and most geniously, a denim skirt and a tank top were turned back to front, as though we saw only the back of another person who was hugging the mannequin.
While there was toughness in the distressed denim, the leather and the clear PVC plastic trousers and skirt, there was softness and cuteness. Kittens played across sweatshirts and dresses under purple moonlight, blue ribbons tied around their necks. Let’s not ignore the fact that one is depicted catching a death’s-head hawkmoth ala The Silence of the Lambs however… There was also lace in abundance, red and white striped leggings that made legs look like candy cane, sparkly quality street coloured shoes and handkerchiefs tied around heads, knotted under the chin. It was intriguing and challenging, but resolutely incredible fun. We like to think of it as a mystery game where you’re enraptured yet also trying to figure out what really is happening.