MAISON MARGIELA AND THE EASTERN BLOC AESTHETICS

by Ieva Zu

Recently I read a nicely written fashion review on The Guardian of the Maison Margiela’s menswear collection (now by John Galiano) presented in Paris over a week ago. The title of the piece written by the paper’s Head of Fashion Imogen Fox caught my attention: ‘Maison Margiela menswear is a chip off the eastern bloc’.

‘What a perfect pun’, I thought.

To those of you unfamiliar with the idiom ‘chip of the old block’, it’s literal meaning is ‘a close resemblance of the father’. So, basically, the author is saying that Maison Margiela’s menswear collection is a close resemblance of Eastern Bloc aesthetics. Perfect! A respected fashion editor has noticed the Eastern part of the Europe. But what does ‘Eastern Bloc Aesthetics’ actually mean? While the author did explain – she meant Soviet/post-Soviet street-style inspired menswear by the Russian contemporary fashion start Gosha Rubchinskiy – it didn’t go further than that. In short, the glorification of the Soviet era is what we now collectively call Eastern Bloc Aesthetics. Indeed, Russian designer has become a bright star of the East, setting his own rules and stirring a traditional understanding of luxury, bringing Russian street style at the front. According to Ms Fox, this is also present on the catwalk of Maison Margiela’s menswear AW2016.

Puffy winter jackets + formal suits might have been the combination my father once sported (or twice) in the 80s but this is definitely not the case today (at least not that I am aware of). Regardless the fashion cycle’s throwback, the Eastern Bloc is no more – it’s gone, basta and it has been so since early nineties. Although Fashion Bloc is representing and supporting designers from the part of Europe that used to be Eastern Bloc, as we call it – new European destinations – it is essential to distinguish between ‘used to be’ and ‘is’. Designers coming from ex Eastern Bloc countries are definitely noteworthy but they are all unique and different, so are the public, citizens of each country. It is really important to make a note here.

Photo credit | Maison Margiela/Youtube