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Maison Margiela: In Conversation with Coco Chan

Fueled by both feminine and masculine silhouettes, Maison Margiela has been a pioneer of gender-fluid fashion ever since its founding in 1988 by Belgian designer Martin Margiela. Boundary pushing, the brand’s creative DNA lies in its ever-more complex deconstructing and redefining of the fashion codes. Keep reading to find out more about the French powerhouse as well as why Stylebop’s Head of Womenswear, Coco Chan, is so fond of it.
By Clara Virieux

Officially a „Haute Couture“ house since 2012, British designer John Galliano–who was appointed as Creative Director in 2014–has managed to seamlessly meld Maison Margiela’s uncompromising approach to its iconoclast heritage with his own poetic vision and artistic conceptualism.

Fresh from presenting the label’s Fall ‘18 Artisanal show earlier this month and Fall/Winter ‘18 in February, Galliano’s take on autumn wear is apocalyptic to say the least as models could be seen strutting down the catwalk covered in countless layers of a fortified nature. Idolized by generations of fashion aficionados, Coco Chan, our Head of Womenswear here at STYLEBOP.com, lets you in on her all-time favorite Maison Margiela creation as well as who she believes the brand to be designing for.

What is your first fashion memory of, or personal connection with Maison Margiela?
As a buying intern, waiting with the crowds to go into fashion shows and seeing that the clothes worn by the best dressed carried the signature white stitches of the brand’s “ghost” tag. The brand had such cult status at the time that it was the ultimate brand to be seen wearing, but paradoxically, it was not a flashy brand, and only the fashion educated recognized it.

What is it that you like about the Maison Margiela aesthetic?
It is a house with a clearly defined and consistent DNA, something that is lacking from many of new generation brands. There is no need for grand gestures to shock. It does not have nor tries to play to an audience but just simply and gently evolves, taking the customer along with them.

In your opinion, what characterizes the woman or man that wears Maison Margiela and why?
The Maison Margiela individual is intelligent and a strong sense of self, therefore owning their personal style; they are a leader not a follower. They’re a person who appreciates craftsmanship and doesn’t believe in flash in the pan trends. This person is more of a fashion curator: they take from fashion what suits their personal style rather than trying to adapt to the “new trends” from one season to the next. They aren’t interested in trying to jump on the fashion band-wagon.

If you had to choose, which collection in the past five years would you say is your favorite/captured your attention the most?
Galliano’s first Artisanal collection: Spring 2015.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The collection, which was shown in London in January 2015, included romantic silhouettes accompanied by delicate trails, unexpected leopard prints, sheerness galore, a reinvented skull-like face-hugger originally worn by onstage by Kanye West, and the overall satisfaction that John Galliano was back and better than ever.

What would you style your favorite piece from our Maison Margiela selection with?
The iconic Tabi boot – with anything and everything.

Which movie or cartoon character reminds you most of the Maison Margiela style and why?
That is a difficult question to answer as it requires me to think of Margiela as a caricature which is so conflicting with the brand DNA.

Shop some of our favorites below: