Maybe that weird choice paid off after all. In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, Renzo Rosso, whose company Only the Brave owns Maison Margiela, said the brand’s sales are up more than 30 percent under John Galliano, who just rang in a year at the company. To build on that success, Rosso said the brand will launch menswear next year, and a fragrance in 2017, via a partnership with L’Oréal. (No word on what that will smell like, but it probably won’t be your run-of-the-mill subtle floral.) It sounds like bags will also be a focus, which probably explains why they were so heavily emphasized in the last collection. Said Rosso, “We don’t want to become a bag company for sure. But with bags accounting for a little less than 10 percent, we are missing a lot of opportunities.”
Rosso revealed that the designer had been in talks about the position for about a year before he came onboard. When the decision was finalized, Martin Margiela himself was supportive, telling Rosso, “I’m so happy you chose a couturier to drive the maison.” As for the ripple effect of Galliano’s anti-Semitic outburst in 2011, Rosso said only one (unnamed) retailer out of 350 declined to work with the brand. And last but not least, we learn that Rosso has a photo on his iPhone camera roll of Galliano grinning in a baseball cap and the lab coat that is the Margiela atelier’s uniform — truly, he’s become a company man.