The fashion world is buzzing about John Galliano’s recent move to Maison Martin Margiela. Ever since his ugly, racist rant in Paris in 2011 and the consequent flameout as creative director at Dior, Galliano’s prospects in the fashion arena seemed slim. But I’m glad Galliano got a second chance. He is genuinely talented–possibly the most talented designer of his generation–so it’s good to see that talent back at work.
Most of the buzz around this appointment has focused on the differences between Galliano and Margiela and how the two designers have nothing in common. Actually, they have two or three key similarities. They’re both brilliant tailors and they’ve both used their expert cutting skills to great acclaim. They both burst onto the Paris fashion scene in the early 1990s, boldly deconstructing clothes. Galliano streamlined the silhouette with bias cutting, making it slinky and sexy, while Margiela ripped up clothes and stitched them back together with a raw edge. Both designers are showmen, although they responded very differently to fame—one craved it; the other rejected it. Margiela may have eluded the cameras at the end of his runway, but he still created some of fashion’s most idiosyncratic moments.
It’s impossible to predict what Galliano will or can bring to Maison Margiela. Take a look at these photos of his first few Paris shows. He might still have the pluck to surprise us.