There is a certain irony to the fact that of all the shows that took place during couture last week, the one designed to be the most off-line — the one conceived as an in-person experience rather than as a simple catwalk — is the one that ended up going the most viral.
The one that no one seems to be able to stop talking about — not the fashion world, nor its millions of followers.
I am speaking of the Maison Margiela Artisanal show by John Galliano. It has sent the watching hordes into ecstasies of praise and adoration, and inspired talk of “history” and “genius” and “the sublime.”
The show, held under the Pont Alexandre III bridge in a jury-rigged nightclub straight from Paris’s romantic old underbelly as a cold wind blew in off the Seine and waiters offered hot toddies and candied violets, was everything the fashion world once seemed to promise. It was sumptuous, excessive, rife with roiling emotion communicated in cloth, with models vamping, skittering and otherwise willing to sacrifice themselves on the pyre of unfettered imagination. It was the sort of immersive show that hasn’t been seen in more than a decade. Maybe two.
Exactly that sort of show. Which is why, almost a week later, I feel a lingering sense of déjà vu. And why, scrolling through the continuing paeans in the digisphere, I can’t help but wonder if the outsize reaction has less to do with Mr. Galliano and more with our own fears about the contemporary creative condition.