Fall 2009: Margiela’s after-party with 'The Usual Suspects'
The Maison Martin Margiela label has always liked to salt its offerings with trompe l’oeil details, but for Fall 2009, the sartorial sleight-of-hand has a light touch that, as with the tailored trickery at Viktor & Rolf Monsieur, makes the collection a lot of fun.
Using a variety of oily sprays, resins and printing, the shoulders of jackets and shirts and the tops of shoes have been treated to look as if they'd just been rained on (which, I imagine would be slightly more noticeable, not to mention funny, in a rain-deprived city like Los Angeles versus some place like, say, Seattle). Denim is sanded to look as if it’s pilling, and pinstriped suits are cut so that the stripes appear to move continuously from lapel to jacket body and on down through the trousers.
But the best visual punchlines in the collection can be found in the “after party” collection -- a series of shoes, shirts and suits that look as if they’d been worn through one of those legendary party-hearty evenings. You know the kind: It starts as a mellow wine-pairing dinner with a few friends and ends 17 1/2 hours, a case of Rioja and two bottles of absinthe later when you’re arrested with 12 college buddies trying to chase a squirrel through a municipal fountain. Indeed, one of those kinds of parties must have been the back story for the presentation of the collection behind a glass in a witness identification line-up a la “The Usual Suspects.” (What I would have given for one brave model to step forward and say: “Flip you. Flip ya for real,” but alas, it wasn't to be.)
White shoes bear scratches and scuffs, jackets and pants sport worn, shiny areas on the shoulders and legs look as if worn while propping yourself up against a wall all night, and a white dress shirt bears a circular red wine stain just above the belt line.
Since we don't have any business partying like that in these times of economic strife, it's nice to know our wardrobe can.
Photo: Faux rain, with a touch of dissipation, from Maison Martin Margiela.