Two months ago, when I came across the news of an exhibition to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Maison Martin Margiela in Province of Antwerp Fashion Museum I immediately remember how great it was to work in Maison Margiela's showroom last summer.
Before having this great opportunity I did not have much knowledge about Martin Margiela and his work, but by working first-hand with his clothes, shoes and accessories I felt in love with his minimal, deconstructed, witty aesthetics.
Maison Martin Margiela is especially known for its deconstructivist approach and its use of second-hand materials or materials with low commercial value. Its entire oeuvre is characterized by an exceptional combination of classic tailoring and conceptual thinking. Margiela shows the inside of a clothing item, exposes its construction and focuses on that which fashion anxiously tries to conceal.
Unravelling the grammar of clothing, Maison Martin Margiela reveals the strategies of the fashion system as he constructs something radically new. The working method produces an analysis of the system that underlies fashion and is followed through in the many varied aspects of the fashion house.
I admire how Margiela emphatically decided to let his fashion speak for itself. All interviews are consistently given in the name of the Maison as a whole and no photographs of the designer are distributed – a sharp reaction against the star status that dominated the fashion scene of the 1980s and 1990s. Since the 1980s, the Japanese avantgardists, with Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garcons), had turned the fashion scene upside-down with their eccentric and ground-breaking designs. Martin Margiela and the Antwerp Six had carried on the work, revolting against the luxurious fashion world with garments of oversized proportions such as long arms, and with linings, seams and hems on the outside.
According to the Province of Antwerp Fashion Museum website 'MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA (20)The exhibition' is not a classic retrospective exhibition, but looks more deeply into the different themes and concepts that Maison Martin Margiela has explored during the 20 years of its various collections, fashion shows, presentations and events worldwide, design of its shops and offices, exceptional house style and communications policy.
Unfortunately I will not make it to exhibition but whoever is in Europe and is interested in fashion should definitely owe a visit.