Pin It
Maison Margiela Artisanal 2024 Look 44
Courtesy of Maison Margiela

Margiela made fashion magic happen on the first full moon of the year

Everything you need to know about John Galliano’s breathtaking SS24 ode to the cocottes and corseted boys of the Parisian underground

Picture this: the imposing arches of the Pont Alexandre III in Paris, puddles rippling and illuminated by the streetlights above. A gaggle of tourists and local kids, cameras in hand, hanging over the side of the bridge for a better look at the people filing into the hidden-away speakeasy – all crumbling walls, skew-whiff lamps, broken glasses smashed across snooker tables and drinks spilled precariously across the dark wooden boards of the floor. 

For the first time since before the pandemic, on the night of the first full moon of the year, John Galliano exploded out of Margiela’s whitewashed HQ and made fashion magic happen at the kind of show the younger among us have only ever seen play out on YouTube, circa his stellar turn at the helm of the house of Dior. Here’s everything you need to know about the Artisanal extravaganza that brought the house down.


Inside the dilapidated archway, the walls were lined with battered wooden tables and crooked little bar chairs and stools, name cards neatly handwritten and placed on top of them. Throughout the space, waiters in old-school black bow-ties and waistcoats served up lethal concoctions – a warm spirit and water mixture spiked with citrus literally burned as it went down. Dotted across the walls were big, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, in which faithful Margiela girlies decked out in full couture looks – including the bunny-eared wedding gown worn by Cinema Inferno’s star-crossed heroine Hen – snapped endless selfies. Ironic, then, that Galliano stipulated the show was all about getting offline and taking a moonlit stroll through the cobbled Paris streets in the dead of night – with the invite taking the form of a Margiela-branded Metro ticket, surely to whisk everyone home before the sun broke over the horizon.


As the lights went down, a shadowy, almost vampiric figure with slicked black hair and an impossibly sculpted jaw stood up from his seat among the crowd and sauntered, slowly, between the tables and chairs, before taking his place in front of a microphone. There, he cast off the cape he was wearing to reveal his bare torso, cinched at the waist by a severe corset. It was Lucky Love, the French model and singer, whose track “Masculinity” served as the haunting soundtrack to Galliano’s AW23 Margiela outing, and who this time had been enlisted to enchant the audience IRL, his unique vocals ringing out through the dimly lit cavern to kick off proceedings.


During the pandemic, as fashion grappled with new ways of putting forward its vision when physical shows were not an option, Margiela was one of the houses that really shone. During the period that’s probably better forgotten for most, Galliano triumphed, with a series of films that channelled dark, avant-garde horror, and in the process introduced us to a cast akin to a haute couture version of the Addams Family (not that Morticia and Gomez aren’t already impossibly chic, but you catch my drift). This time around, this film element was back: as the lights around the bar flickered and tripped, those heavy gilt mirrors became screens, depicting nightmarish images of bare feet dancing across crushed glass and shadowy figures backlit by the moon – each frame evoking the work of Hungarian-French photographer Brassaï, who Galliano revealed was a big source of inspiration for the season.


From the off it was clear this was Galliano to the max and Margiela cranked all the way up to 11. In from the rain-soaked street outside came the designer’s children of the night, jutting their hips, twisting their torsos, and extending their hands in the most fabulous, mesmerising gestures of couture. The cast was once again directed by movement genius Pat Boguslawski, who’s been working with Margiela for a while now, and was the one who encouraged Leon Dame to stomp down the runway to internet virality and fashion infamy. 

Speaking of Dame, the house muse was one of the first to skulk into the room, and like Lucky Love he was topless, waist snatched by a waspie that called to mind the iconic work of corsetier Mr Pearl – the couturier who helped bring some of the most legendary McQueen looks to life. Clutching a tiny glass of wine, the model peered and leered at members of the audience as he went. With enigmatic Parisian Madam Bijou pivotal to the season’s collection, a procession of elegant cocottes came next, their pannier gowns and bustiers overlaid with moth-eaten embroidered tulle, skirts tea-stained and artfully grubby – glamorous clothes rendered shabby by their forays in the night.

As the evening wore on and we entered the twilight hours, so came dapper, swaggering boys in boxy cropped jackets and cigarette pants, ready to turn on the charm and try their luck with the girls (or boys!), and IRL dollies. With their faces painted to become smooth and porcelain-like by legendary artist Pat McGrath, and with frizzy hair piled high on their heads by Duffy, each had been poured into a look that felt a little like Dorothy-on-acid and cinched to the gods by yet more corsets. And for the walk home? Dark sunglasses, dotted with Margiela’s distinctive stitches, courtesy of a follow-up collaboration with Gentlemonster.


If you ever listened to Galliano’s missed The Memory Of… podcast in his early years at Margiela, you’ll know how much he loves experimenting with fabrics and techniques, and coming up with outlandish, avant-garde names for them that set them apart from other houses. This time around, the designer and his team had been in the lab for the best part of a year concocting new fabrications and methods, with his SS24 Artisanal press release  laying out over 15 new ways of working – a personal favourite being one he’d dubbed ‘Stripe-tease’, which sees striped fabric manipulated to become a block colour, and could be seen utilised in shimmering fishtail skirts that glittered under the lamplight.


@dazed Maison Margiela made magic happen in Paris on the night of the first full moon of 2024. Stay tuned for our full breakdown and more from BTS ✨ #DazedFashionTV #TikTokFashion #ParisFashionWeek #Runway #MaisonMargiela #Couture ♬ son original - Speed song

Though Galliano amped up the proportions of his models through the use of corsetry, bustles, and padding to the hips and bum – which in some cases, gave them the kind of proportions the Kardashians in the audience paid hefty sums for – the designer also broadened his casting for the first time, with many models larger than a sample size actually coming down the runway. Their inclusion made clear the wild talent for cutting impeccable clothes that lies with the team behind the big doors of the Maison – who knew you didn’t just have to stick a larger model in a stretchy dress, send her down the runway, and call it a day? 


Bringing the drama to a climax was actor and fashion fave Gwendoline Christie, who stepped up from her usual spot on the front row and landed on the catwalk. Wide-eyed and blinking her way through the audience, seeming not quite steady on her feet, it was as if she was emerging out of the club at 6am and finding, jarringly, that it was light out and the birds were chirping. 


Pure fashion magic: this was Galliano distilled down to his essence. Margiela shows are always ones to look forward to on the fashion calendar, but this one blew everything out of the water. As one editor said as we made our way out of the venue, “thank god we saw this at the end of the week and not the start, because how could anything follow that?” That’s not to say we haven’t seen beautiful couture all week long, because we have. But Margiela, as Galliano reminded us last night, is truly in a league of its own. A show for the history books, for sure.

Download the app 📱

  • Build your network and meet other creatives
  • Be the first to hear about exclusive Dazed events and offers
  • Share your work with our community
Join Dazed Club