For Spring-Summer 2023, MM6 Maison Margiela invites you into the sacred space of the rehearsal – into the process behind the performance. Sat on its main stage, you see the Auditorium di Milano Fondazione Cariplo from the same vantage point as our dancers, limbering up for a run-through of Igor Stravinsky’s seismic ballet – an avant-garde masterpiece to this very day – The Rite of Spring. In the stalls, the 60-strong ensemble of the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano, conducted by Wladimir Schall, makes its final tunings before the dress rehearsal begins.
Clothes are crafted with vigorous, balletic movement in mind. Off-shoulder jersey bodies in cream, blush and teal effortlessly shift with the wearer’s body ; ribbed knit boleros in white cotton contour frame the décolleté, while bunched-up mohair cosies warm the joints. The sleeves of scoop-necked jumpers are attached in reverse, allowing for arms to be thrown skywards into the fifth position with ease.
Vests are scaled up and layered as airy minidresses, and MM6 Salomon Adv Skin 5 running vest, a product of this season’s continued collaboration with the French outdoor sports brand, first introduced for Autumn-Winter 2022, feature throughout – handy for whenever water breaks call. Elsewhere, the brand’s signature sole tooling is used for thigh-high boots with pointes uppers, available in blush and black.
A jaunty playfulness informs how pieces are constructed and worn – shrunken spaghetti-strap tops become cummerbunds that cinch the waists of boxy satin coats, and knitted camisole dresses are tugged and folded into svelte, high-waisted skirts. The five-zip jacket with sharply-slanted cap sleeves is reimagined as a ballet dancer’s leotard in polished black calfskin.
The mottled scuffs of worn-in ballet shoes inform the abrasions that constitute this season’s keystone graphic motif. Speckled across bleached denim maxi skirts, roomy mohair knits and stretch jersey tops, they have a dual function – they simultaneously serve as tattered embellishments while offering ventilation in stifling summer heat. The ivory duchesse satin used for notch-lapel coats and wide-leg jeans is dirt-washed, dulling its sheen, and the dye treatments of sky blue and rose jersey slips are marbled and streaked, a homage to pieces from one of the Maison’s most emblematic collections.
Silhouettes are anchored by a footwear range that – expectedly – takes the ballet shoe as its point of departure. Its square-toed silhouette translates to mules in blush satin and black calfskin; the ‘6’ heel ankle boot in tan leather; open-toed, thigh-high sock boots in aquamarine, fuchsia and taupe jersey; and even a crossbody mini-bag that mimics a folded-over pump. A full range of Japanese bags – including the classic origami-inspired form, the oval-bottomed mini-tote, the long-handled accordion silhouette and a new shoulder bag – return in the season’s primary palette, and this season’s jewellery draws inspiration from hand-knotted and studded pieces discovered in the archive.
As ever with MM6 Maison Margiela, this is a collection that reiterates the brand’s core philosophy – rather than impose how they should be worn, these are clothes to be lived in as you please. Whether for running, dancing or lounging, these garments are not ready to wear – they are ready when worn.