Grzegorz Matląg label is named after the title character of the blasphemous poetic novel Les Chants de Maldoror
Low Couture Ripping Up the Red Carpet
Maldoror has transformed contemporary Polish fashion with its underground aesthetic and its scathing attack on the introspective relationship between Polish designers and local celebrities.
Founded by Grzegorz Matląg in Warsaw in 2007, the label is named after the title character of the blasphemous poetic novel Les Chants de Maldoror by nineteenth-century French poet Comte de Lautréamont, a work that was plucked from oblivion by the surrealists during the early twentieth century. In the novel, reality is continually transformed and nothing is set in stone. The surrealists considered it a seminal work, and they revered Lautréamont as an outcast, an urban vagrant, a madman forced to live on the fringes of society. Lautréamont warns readers before they begin their “wild and treacherous passage through the desolate swamps of these sombre, poison-soaked pages” and describes the ideas contained within as “lethal fumes”. Maltag creates unusual, fascinating and extensive designs which appear to be of a combination of Lautremont’s mysticism and fantasy mixed with an air of eroticism.
Spirit of 69 collection AW2012/13, photos by Adam Plucinski, model Matthias Swidnicki
The Spirit of 69 collection (a/w 2012-13) is a reference to the title of a 1991 book about the origins of the skinhead movement in the UK. The collection is inspired by the skinhead look and by the Berlin fetish scene. Maldoror’s rebellious approach extends to his recruitment of low-grade models. The face of the label’s Mary of Magdala collection (s/s 2011) was Jolanta Rutowicz, a former Big Brother contestant with a penchant for latex and cuddly toys. A small-town girl, Rutowicz’s ‘look’ comprises impossibly long false nails, artificial-looking dyed hair and a perma-tan that is several shades too dark. The title of the collection is a reference to the biblical figure of the harlot.
MBC SS12, PHOTOS BY ADAM PLUCINSKI
Two years later, Matląg managed to controversially manipulate the media by falsely informing them that one of the models taking part in his show would be Katarzyna W — a child murderer, who at the time was suspected—and later convicted—of killing her own daughter. The murderer became a central figure in both the mainstream and the tabloid press and Maldoror used the stunt to criticise designers who clung on to celebrities, and the process by which new showbiz stars are created. “The whole point of the stunt was to show that the line had been crossed long ago,” Matląg explains. The MBC collection (Spring/Summer 2012) was influenced by medieval depictions of the Holy Mother with dark skin and caucasian features. The collection focuses on the dark skin of The Black Madonna of Częstochowa, Poland’s bestknown painting which has its own cult following.
Maldoror’s The Accuser collection (Autumn/ Winter 2011-12) was inspired by Diamanda Galás’s performance of Plague Mass, which took place in 1990 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. In a piercing, dramatic voice, Galás condemned institutions and social groups which denied the severity of the hiv/aids epidemic or society’s responsibility to its victims.
Since 2014 Grzegorz Matląg has been living and working in Berlin. Maldoror’s fashion is anti-consumerist and still voices strong opposition towards glamour fashion. His designs are unique and the clothing is produced in limited numbers, often by Matląg himself.
STP COLLECTION, Photo Zuza Krajewska & Bartek Wieczorek