Typically, show notes unpack the esoterica that a house’s design team have been mulling over for the past six months. Here, however, their purpose is quite the opposite – after all, there is little here in MM6 Maison Margiela’s Autumn/Winter 2022 collection that you aren’t already familiar with; that you don’t already know and love.
This is a collection that revels in the unsung beauty of dressing as we see it pass by on our streets – clothes seen in situ. Boxy suiting and dry wool peacoats elicit the spirit of city commuters, their Financial-District-severity counterposed by campily exaggerated peak lapels, the moodily adolescent, shrugged cut of the shoulder, and boomerang-slung sleeves. Just as you’d see in real life, these cool, dusky silhouettes are styled with brazen-hued sneakers, the product of a collaboration with Salomon, the French outdoor sports apparel label whose function-first footwear takes to urban streets as naturally as to mountain trails. Building on a mutual appreciation for transitional design, the brand’s most iconic pieces have been reimagined through MM6 Maison Margiela’s distinct lens. Lug-sole trail-running shoes in flame red and powder pink echo MM6’s mainstay ‘6’ heel ankle boot, with a pronounced block heel, a high top and exposed lacing. Elsewhere, a low-top model – available in the same bold colourway, alongside muted beige and black options – is fitted with a fluorescent gaiter, allowing for a more conventional sneaker silhouette.
The same utilitarian spirit informs blockish denim trucker jackets with four-hole button detailing – resulting in a decidedly workwear feel – twinsets and cuffs cut from abraded pull-up calfskin, and a bulbous derby with a worn-through toe: pieces that almost provoke you to wear them in.
The collection is presented in an atmosphere that brings its all-purpose attitude into relief. In a dark space perfumed by the scent of the woods in autumn, and lit up by torchlight, the show’s ephemeral set evokes the cosiness of an evening spent around a campfire with friends.
In many respects, this season marks a turn in the life cycle for MM6 Maison Margiela – a moment to both reflect upon its idiosyncratic design perspective, and to celebrate it with aplomb. This brings about a renewed focus on branded pieces: ‘Six’ is studded across a leather vest, with the number itself appliquéd to a varsity jacket, placed inside an ouroboros motif – an ancient representation of a snake eating itself, a symbol of eternal cyclical renewal – and found on worn metal buttons.
As ever, this season’s offer is imbued with a spirit of play. The aforementioned button closures are easily concealed, and a gown in prim black taffeta is scrunched up with a devil-may-care glee. New iterations of the maison’s iconic Japanese bag – one, an oval-bottomed mini-tote with knotted handles; the other, a prim accordion silhouette in smooth, brushed calfskin – feature adjustable straps, jewellery cheekily nods to sex toys and fetish piercings, and the ouroboros comes to life in the form of a plush toy snake repurposed as a shrug.
Its body-clinging drape echoes one of this season’s most notable technical innovations; the replacement of an upper garment’s traditional two sleeves with a single circular cut-out on the reverse. Found on a 5-zip jacket, a forest-green leather overcoat, a blazer, and a hoodie, the cut brings a fresh intrigue to otherwise quotidian wardrobe staples through negative space. Activated when styled by the wearer, these pieces speak to the ethos at the heart of both the collection and MM6 Maison Margiela at large: rather than ready-to-wear, these are clothes that are ready when worn.