Maison Margiela Presents Co-Ed 2023 Collection In Paris
Conception is a fusion of elements: the splicing of genetics, ideas and characteristics into a new expression. For the 2023 Co-Ed Collection, Maison Margiela conceives a multi-layered premise inspired by the procreation of Count and Hen, the fugitive protagonists introduced in its Artisanal 2022 proposal, Cinema Inferno. Imagining the lovechild the pair was expecting when we left them in July 2022 – on the run and trapped in a filmic loop – Creative Director John Galliano melds their stylistic natures into an individual aesthetic. The offspring of Count’s aristocratic influence and the false pretensions of Hen’s upbringing, it is a cross-pollination embodied by the contemporary spirit of young rebels with a conscience.
An illustration of the pyramidical structure of Maison Margiela – where the haute couture experimentation of the Artisanal Collection informs the ready-to-wear of the Co-Ed Collection and all its other lines – the story takes place within its new 16e arrondissement headquarters at 12 Place des États-Unis. A multi-disciplinary presentation plays out in physical and digital form. Transforming the Maison into tableaux depicting the cinematic loop scenes from Cinema Inferno, its 2022 Artisanal creations are re-encountered from a new perspective within the atelier: the heart of the haute couture house. It paves the way for the continuation of the story, leading live spectators to the fifth floor where the 2023 Co-Ed Collection unfolds in a runway show. Simultaneously, the digital audience experiences the staging in a live stream filmed from a POV perspective.
In a study of hand-me-downs and the gestures that imbue garments with life, the practice of dressing in haste is applied to bias-cut dresses hacked up and spontaneously fixed into rompers, coining the technique of rompage. Plaid shirts created with ®Pendleton and are worn back-to-front – an exercise echoed in coats and cardigans – and garments epitomic to haute couture or formal menswear cultures subverted through splicing and customisation. Employing the technique of freeze-framing, silhouettes render in tulle the movement of sculptural party dresses captured in mid-century photography. Sunglasses and spectacles used throughout the collection herald Maison Margiela’s new line of eyewear created with Gentle Monster.
Sunday January 22, 2023
At 12 Place des États-Unis – the headquarters at which Maison Margiela took up residence in September 2022 – a multi-disciplinary presentation comes to life in two separate formats created for the physical and digital audiences. Connected to the narrative introduced in Cinema Inferno, the assemblage performance piece that framed the 2022 Artisanal Collection in Palais de Chaillot in July 2022, it continues John Galliano’s Southern Gothic tale of the ill-fated lovers Count and Hen. The 2023 Co-Ed presentation carries on where the story left off.
As screens display voyeuristic documentary-style footage from the making of the 2022 Artisanal Collection, live spectators arrive in the lobby of Maison Margiela to the embodiments of characters from Cinema Inferno. They are led through rooms transformed into the scenes visualised by Count and Hen in their cinematic loop through tableaux recreated with the 2022 Artisanal creations. The experience continues in the atelier where paint-marked Tabi footsteps draw guests to a fantasy crime scene of a classic car suspended in the air as if crashed through the glass roof of the building, heralding the return of Count and Hen. In a room of refracting infinity mirrors, the screen version of Cinema Inferno is projected in a re-familiarisation with the story of the couple and the lovechild who hadn’t yet been born.
Guests are guided to the fifth floor of the building: a stark and brightly lit runway on which the 2023 Co-Ed Collection unfolds: the personification of the lovechild of Count and Hen; a contemporary amalgamation of their characters. Following the show, visitors are invited to the rooftop where a giant billboard blasts the clothes-in-movement concept captured by Britt Lloyd and developed for MaisonMargiela.com by John Galliano in collaboration with Nick Knight. As spectators depart 12 Place des États-Unis, they experience the Co-Ed collection in the context of the backstage milieu in a cinematic epilogue shot by Willy Vanderperre and screened in the lobby.
The Maisons celebrity attendees included the iconic Kylie Jenner and Naomi Cambell amongst several others such as Noah Cyrus and Fai Khadra.
In real time, a live stream plays out for Maison Margiela’s community of digital nomads. It opens with a prologue likewise created by Willy Vanderperre, capturing a street view of Place des États-Unis from a POV perspective, with the sounds of a car crash and helicopters circulating in the air. Moving towards the scene of the event the camera enters Maison Margiela to find Count and Hen’s car crashed through its ceiling. As the image morphs into the silver debris of the site, the viewer is transported to the Co-Ed presentation where the first muse emerges. Following the show, the stream morphs into the signature clouds and clothes-in-movement concept of MaisonMargiela.com before the camera pulls out to reveal the billboards atop the Maison’s roof and the Paris skyline by night.