Martin Margiela by Tanya Benet

Martin Margiela, the idol of trendy intellectual people, used to be something special in the fashion world. With his brilliant knowledge of style history, he tried to put these traditions upside down or just showed the magic of fashion from the inside. A graduate of Belgium’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts and a former assistant to Jean Paul Gautier in Paris has the most difficult and radical esthetic. His first collection was made in 1988. It caused great interest among fashion society as in contrary to bright and furry glamour making everyone look similar, his clothes were extremely simple, providing the cult of individuality. In contrary to machine sewing, he offered a little bit clumsy hand-made clothes. In his ideas one can easily find some features taken from Japanese minimalists, such as Yoji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo (they were members of famous Antwerp Six, though Margiela is considered to be the 7th member). Margiela took from them asymmetrical cut and silhouette enveloped with clothes. In fact, the new body which got rid of sexism of Paris elegance.

“Fashion Zarathustra”[1] easily became the main idol of bohemian trendies who were tired of ostrich feathers and kitschy Lurex of 1980-s. Monochromatic colors (the main color was black), edges that weren’t sewed, diagonally shifted lines of waist and shoulders, applications made of old clothes, unisex style, all these made his fashion shows extravagant. He never chose common places for them. For example, one could watch his shows in subway, deserted hangar, on the roof of Belgium circus, etc. At first Margiela hired ordinarily looking women to show his clothes, but then they were replaced with mannequins without faces. Brand symbol of Margiela is a simple white triangle without and gold-embroidered cues.

Deconstruction of design and anti-glamour behavior turn Margiela from a bohemian designer into mass insanity. Rich fops began to buy his clothes, ignoring such famous brands as Versace and Cavalli. At that time Margiela was offered to work as a top-designer in the fashion house of Hermes. That was shocking event as Hermes is known as ultra-bourgeois brand, and designs of Margiela were eccentric and ground-breaking.  This cooperation lasted until 2004.

In October 2008 the brand of Martin Margiela celebrated his 20th anniversary and October 1st 2008 “gave many in the fashion world their first glimpse of Margiela’s face, as well as breaking the news that he allegedly offered to hand the reins of his company over to Raf Simons.”[2] This desire of selling Margiela’s business is a cliché, as the most critically acclaimed designers used to sell their businesses to big conglomerates. Besides, it is rather clear that in particular case if Margiela it can be also grounded on “… a desire to enjoy his life outside the insistent glare of the fashion world.”[3] Margiela’s stakeholder made announce, that for many years the designer was half present, half not present in the fashion world. The fashion brand of Margiela has new team of young designers, so the fashion world will never notice the absence of the designer. A press release announced in December, that Margiela “has left the business. No replacement creative director will be appointed. Maison Martin Margiela will continue trading but the company declined to comment on the reasons for Margiela’s exit.”[4]

Brand of the most extraordinary and mysterious designer today fascinates people with simple ascetic cut of clothes similar to Japan minimalists. Its style is still marginal, outstanding, and similar to no other fashion brand. But still whatever happened, the clothes of MM brand are clothes if contemporary art.

[1] Maison Martin Margiela.(2006). DigitalDazed. http://www.digitaldazedcom (accessed in April 28, 2010).

[2] Wilson, Eric. 1 October 2008. Fashion’s Invisible Man. The New York Times. 28 April 2010. A3.

[3] Walker, Harriet. 6 December 2009. Out of Sight, not out of Mind: Celebrating Two Decades of Martin Margiela Magic. The Independent. 28 April 2010. A3.

[4] Oxberry, Eve. Martin Margiela Exits Margiela. DRAPERS. (2008) . (accessed on April 28, 2010).


Oxberry, Eve. Martin Margiela  Exits Margiela. DRAPERS. 2008. Internet, accessed on April 28, 2010.

Shillingford, Katie “Maison Martin Margiela.” DigitallyDazed. 2006. Internet, accessed in April 28, 2010..

Walker, Harriet. “Out of Sight, not out of Mind: Celebrating Two Decades of Martin

Margiela Magic”. The Independent. 2009. A3.

Wilson, Eric. “Fashion’s Invisible Man”. The New York Times. 2009. A3.

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