Maison Martin Margiela, AW11, Paris.
In the high end ready-to-wear collections it is quite rare to see a zip hanging wide open and with the zipper tape exposed. It is rarer still to see a zip that weaves across the body in a wavy line, and it is possibly only from a team such as the one at Maison Martin Margiela that a curling zipper is actually integral to the mood of the collection.
In the Autumn-Winter 2011 collection from Maison Martin Margiela the loose hang of the zippers helped to cultivate the mood of the models in a way that buttons and press studs alone never could. They helped to make the clothes look as though they were peeling away from the models bodies as they replaced seamlines and created rifts between sections of the garment. The fact that the zips are relatively invisible also helped to differentiate it from the other fastening elements of the garment. So buttons on a cardigan for example seemed like the functional fastening element but then the zip was used to edge the seams that were slithering away from the body. It is always interesting to note the use of traditional elements in deconstructed clothing. Whether it is a conscious decision or not, is as though the designers are placing traditional elements onto garments as a visual anchor to show how the structure of the garment has moved.
On a very practical note, for the length of zipper used on the Margiela garments be ware of lead times if you are planning this sort of fastening yourself. Long zips that are double ended or open ended and available in unusual colours often need to be specially ordered from a supplier such as YKK, and from anecdotal evidence they can take up to 6 weeks to arrive and may only be available in limited size and colour combinations. Zip tape can also be bought on a continuous roll and zip pulls and ends applied separately but you will need to research the minimums required for purchasing in this way as it may not be a viable option for sample collections.
Images from Vogue.co.uk»