Runway a well-timed break from ugly

Maison Margiela show a refreshing, charming diversion

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PARIS — Let’s just be delighted, shall we?

Not to forget all that ails the world, but can’t we have a pause, take in a little oxygen before diving back into the terrible day-to-day? There is that recurring feeling when you’re reading the newspaper, the cable crawl, your Twitter feed, that you’ve suddenly stopped breathing. It’s not an anxiety attack; it’s paralysis.

So, off to the fashion runway! But let’s agree not to take any of it personally. Don’t consider the cost. No asking, “Who would wear that?” Not today. Because have you seen Instagram? Someone, somewhere will wear anything.

For spring 2018 at Maison Margiela show, creative director John Galliano took a trench coat, pulled it apart and turned it into a dress. He turned others into skirts. He trimmed their remains with feathers.

He took a bit of lush cotton fabric that looked like a towel, something that you’d wrap around your head after a shower, and made it into a skirt and an evening coat. He made it fancy and sophisticated. It still sort of looks like a towel. But it also looks like clothes.

He took the accoutrements of air travel — the inflatable neck rest, the eye mask, the “priority” luggage tag, all symbolic of the desperate way fliers try to make a wholly uncomfortable experience bearable — and transformed them into charms.

But these clothes and accessories are more than just wry jokes or bits of whimsy. Because they are executed with elevated technique and breathtaking skill, they rise above the joke to become something enticing on their own.

They are not an answer to any of the world’s great problems. Not a mindless distraction either. They are a well-timed break.