Written by Nash Hill for Idlewild
As the main diffusion line for Maison Margiela, the inherent function for MM6 is to deliver consistent ready-to-wear. This is quite common in the industry, as many of the powerhouse brands we’ve come to know and love need proper financial supplementation to create the spectacles of runway shows and further the boundaries of fashion that continually captivate audiences. Unfortunately, this often forces brands into operating as mutated aesthetic generators, tragically wading through radioactive waste courtesy of the excessive nature of contemporary fashion. While this certainly reads as dramatic - bear with me – just look at some of the largest brands. Clothes drenched in logos, the same handful of silhouettes used ad nauseam; not to mention that most of these brands fall under the same two or three conglomerates. To make it worse, the quality of these clothes has drastically deteriorated. Who really needs a Balenciaga t-shirt whose quality is more or less the same as that of Uniqlo at a 4,400% upcharge?
This is what makes the latest collection of MM6 so refreshing. Unlike many other diffusion lines, it doesn’t rely exclusively on the watered-down imagery of a parent brand. Of course, with an aesthetically rich history such as that of Maison Margiela, references to the past are more than welcome. The Maison’s Spring/Summer 1990 show used an ingenious trompe l’oeil effect where images of garments were photocopied onto the garments themselves which gave a surrealist edge to the clothes. The latest pre-fall collection from MM6 referenced this in several wide-leg pants that have images of pant legs literally printed onto the pants. Such references harken back to the subversive and immensely instructive elements that Martin Margiela introduced to fashion, many of which inspired some of the most prolific designers working today. Before Margiela, the notion of upcycling was almost unheard in the world of luxury.
The beauty of MM6’s Autumn/Winter 2022 collection lies in its sense of simplicity and familiarity. However, subtlety is often misread as boring. It’s difficult for an audience to appreciate nuance when they’re conditioned to respond to loud visuals, often intended for digital consumption. MM6 sidesteps this expectation with an array of 36 looks that heavily features a variety of exquisite tailoring alongside soft, relaxed silhouettes. The show opens with a black wool double-breasted overcoat worn on a blue cotton button-down and a snakeskin turtleneck layering piece. The coat features the brand’s ‘circled 6’ logo on the arm, this time with an ouroboros forming the ring. The use of the symbol likely refers to the cyclic nature of the fashion industry, which tends to look towards the past. The interpretation here is optimistic; we can use our knowledge of history to move forward. The snake motif reappears throughout the collection in various forms, most playfully in look ten as a plush toy that calls to mind Bjork’s famous ‘Swan Dress’ from the red carpet.
The color palette was rather restrained, with most offerings coming in black, courtesy of leather blazers and pants next to wonderfully draped tops. Looks 22 through 25 used a sublime pale pink, the first of which paired wool trousers with a muted tangerine military bomber with a fur collar that looked like the best tasting dreamsicle from your childhood. Look 28 featured a leather sleeveless double-breasted coat in a beautiful shade of forest green.
In a moment where each subsequent piece of information we receive nudges our homeostasis towards an existential climax, whether it be a literal plague or an impending climate crisis, the most comforting things are those that allow us to breath and be one with ourselves. With clothing, that’s often better achieved with high quality textiles and shapes that don’t overpower. The heads at MM6 understand this, and they responded adequately. Indeed, less is more.