I've been meaning to write this one for a while, but when the material is large, it is difficult to articulate completely. I thought it charming. I still think it charming. The clothes are pretty and the cuts, somewhat conventional. Even when she throws in an oversized bow, the scale is not so impractical as to be cartoonish. The clothes are interesting but not so much that they become parodies of the central theme. The clothes come from a cerebral place. She is deliberate in everything that she does. The illustrations of her theme do not come across as random bursts of creativity.
Her collection is a discussion of both virginity and the virgin. I’d read about it, but I didn’t really feel it until I saw the collection’s film. In the film a group of men discuss the veiled figure before them, before succumbing to the prospect of owning her. You see them reaching into their pockets, pulling out ever so slightly, and reaching in again. It is too reminiscent of masturbation for it to be anything but disturbing. Yet the model sits there, not unaware of their ministrations but accepting of them. Most modern theories would object to this sordid objectification of the woman. She's been reduced to the most basic reflection of her gender; her vagina. So, it is only fitting that the vulva finds itself expressed in the clothes.
You may not notice this at first, but once you have seen it, you cannot deny it for what it is. It is at the front of the black blouse and in one of the Adire prints that she has become famous for. There's always the question of originality whenever Adire is discussed. While Maki may not have been the first to print Adire on silk, she did it at a time when no one else did, and at a scale that far exceeded anyone else's at the time. There was no flirtation, only full immersion. As a result of this, any one that employs a similar technique will find themselves compared to her.
Adire isn't the only maki-ism that makes it through. The boxy shapes, the diagonal cuts, the midi and the too high slit also feature. The slit is interesting in this collection because it is only completely shown once. At all other times you are aware that if not for the silk that's laid above it or the silk that peeks out from underneath it, the model's entire left thigh would be laid bare.
It is unfortunate that I did not get to see it walk. I did, however, see the clothes on the rack, and they are far better than the pictures can say. The pink blouse with tufty feathery appliqué is neoprene mesh and the black beaded vulva dances. When you see Maki's clothes you do not like them or dislike them. They are greater than that. Even when you would not wear a piece, and this for me is everything she's shown, you appreciate the scope and scale of it.