Conceived by Creative Director John Galliano and Gentle Monster, the genderless line – which includes sunglasses and spectacles – is founded in concepts developed in the Artisanal atelier and encompasses eleven designs across numerous colourways. The French haute couture house and the global fashion eyewear brand detect in their practices a shared belief in experimental craftsmanship. It is expressed in a creative dialogue incited by the principles of savoir-faire and infused with the anthropological and iconographic investigations at the core of Maison Margiela.
In its creative approach, Gentle Monster explores dualities inherent to individual expression: playfulness vs. elegance, delicacy vs. destruction, past vs. future. The juxtapositions reflect the illustrative and figurative themes intrinsic to the methodology of Maison Margiela and Gentle Monster, which continuously considers notions of how we dress and why: the memories, familiarities and instinctive choices and gestures that inform the way we present ourselves. An infinite tool for self-expression, the evocative designs of eyewear – and the body languages they enable – are steeped in societal, cultural and pop cultural associations that connect us all.
Silhouettes inspired by the archetypal shapes of eyewear are subverted through the grammar of Maison Margiela. Structured in acetate, the designs are interpreted in glossy colours and effects spanning black, white, grey, cream, transparent, and tortoiseshell. Formulated from the house’s enduring notion of unconscious glamour, the designs are entrenched in imagery and gestures that resonate as glamorous in our collective historical awareness. Applied in the design and employment of every style, appropriating the inappropriate denotes the code-switch between two classic wardrobe staples foreign to each other by nature, or the improvised use of an item different to what it was originally meant for.
With their curved oversized frames, the MM001 and MM002 interpret the bourgeois gesture of spontaneously wearing one’s sunglasses as a headband or tiara back-to-front. Worn like this, the top edge of the frame reveals the Maison Margiela logo while its sides are adorned with the house’s emblematic four white stitches. Featuring the same signatures, the MM003 shades draw on the genetics of sports glasses, conjuring the everyday idea of dressing in haste, the spur-of-the-moment mixing of items native to different wardrobes.
Skewing classic shapes, the MM004 and MM0005 reduce the oval sunglasses characteristic of mid-century postcard beach culture to the memory of their own form, streamlining the frames into strong evocative silhouettes. Similarly, the MM008 shades and spectacles purify the cat-eye frame synonymous with old-world glamour. The rebellious wayfarer engrained in counterculture is evoked in the MM006 and MM007, scaled up or down, the left hinges embellished with the Maison Margiela logo. The MM009 and MM010 study the intellectual transition created when the wayfarer is transformed into spectacles, while the more angular MM011 glasses evoke an academic trope.