Renzo Rosso has a reputation for talking trash, but like any billionaire, he deploys compliments with military precision. “Who wouldn’t like to work with him?” the mogul said last month of designer John Galliano. “If he ever got back his name, I would be the first to produce his collections.” Fast-forward a few weeks, past Rosso’s firm denials and the Milan spring 2015 collections he enthusiastically appraised from the front row (sometimes beside Kanye West), and it’s official: Galliano is the new creative director of…Maison Martin Margiela.
Rosso’s Only The Brave (OTB), which owns Diesel, Viktor & Rolf, and Marni, as well as production and distribution powerhouse Staff International, acquired Margiela in 2002, seven years before the departure of its enigmatic Belgian founder. The Paris-based house has maintained its artsy appeal, both preserving and advancing Margiela’s minimal yet experimental bent, which dabbles in Warholian cult of personality, albeit a collective one, while celebrating sartorial anonymity. Galliano, a puckish chameleon whose obsession with historical and cultural references fueled his dazzling, scandal-capped tenure at Dior, would seem an ill fit for a house that loves nothing more than sheathing quotidian objects in white cotton, but Rosso sees it differently: “Margiela is ready for a new charismatic creative soul.” Loosen up those lab coats, avant-gardistes, for there is a Gibraltar-born toreador-ringmaster in the maison. He is your new pirate king.