In the nebulous world of viral Internet quotes, one from John Galliano pops up again and again: "What about David Bowie? He's a sexy creature." Whether he ever really said this or to whom is unclear, but the Maison Margiela spring 2016 couture show on Wednesday certainly proved that the late musician had an outsized influence on the designer.
Bowie served up rich inspiration for the fashion industry throughout his career, but since his abrupt passing on Jan. 10, most tributes have come in the form of retrospective obituaries, shareable images and impromptu murals. A Bowie jacket popped up in the Gucci men's collection and a Burberry model snuck in a hand-drawn tribute, but neither went as far as Margiela, which channeled Bowie's Aladdin Sane and Ziggy Stardust looks chiefly through makeup and hair. A slew of models in the second half of the show were styled with brightly colored mullets and graphic shapes or outlines over one eye. There were also lip-shaped appliqués and glittery lipstick amidst the show's range of strikingly different beauty looks, created by Pat McGrath.
In terms of the clothes, the glam-rock theme came through in colorful knee-high boots featuring abstract collages of stars, metallic shapes and lips, as well as masculine coats, rich, metallic brocades and theatrical jumpsuits. The rest of the collection featured inventive combinations of unusual materials and silhouettes, like a trench coat fronted by delicate pleats, a satin dress with messy feather fringe and giant shoulder bows. Fabrics were shredded, shiny, voluminous or all of the above. A gauzy poncho with lapels stood out — it looked like a disintegrating blazer jacket.
Perhaps Bowie's greatest impact wasn't the on-the-nose beauty references but on Galliano's overall willingness to buck convention, combine and feature unusual materials and even defy gravity with his clothes. Both men thrive in uncharted territory. And while Galliano's Margiela Couture debut a year ago may have been a celebration of what's next in fashion, he found an opportunity to celebrate the past this time around.
See the full Maison Margiela spring 2016 couture collection below.