paris fashion week|maison martin margiela rtw fall 2011

The models at Margiela moped down the runway in a slow-as-molasses, melancholic stupor, but the sad sack routine was a ruse. If a little maudlin, the clothes instead channeled a womanly beauty that was, as far as Margiela shows go, refreshingly uncomplicated and pretty. According to program notes, dresses were the concept du jour, which was true. Each look was built around a relatively plain, conservative frock with long sleeves, a high neck and a boxy shape. But done in traditional outerwear fabrics, such as heavy wool, techno materials and pastel-printed shearling, the dresses looked more like coats — deconstructed, of course. They zipped and unzipped down the sides, and folded open in the back and the front to reveal a textural contrast beneath. There was sturdy shine in thick skirts and camisoles that looked like vinyl or patent, and softness in fluid dresses that came tacked over the shoulder of a coat or peaked out from under a heavy coatdress. Everything was done in a tonal palette of nudes, grays, burgundy and fuchsia, as well as simple black. In fact, it bordered on classic, with real commercial appeal, particularly in the knee-high boots and door-knocker jewelry.

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paris fashion week|maison martin margiela rtw fall 2011