You will never see him saluting an adoring public or receiving a standing ovation at the end of one of his shows, just as certain that he will never give an interview. An official photograph is another impossibility. White are the walls of his boutiques just like the lab coats of his boutique staff. Even the tags of his creations are without color as is his world.
This is all in direct opposition to a perfect marketing strategy. The rules of engagement change when the strategy must be based on the cult of anonymity, where there is no designer to hail and no face to iconify.
For our artist, the creative process is key and his experimentation continues to evolve over time. The basic tennant is to construct clothes differently, focusing on avantgarde tailoring, never losing sight of function.
This Belgian, after graduating from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, became an assistant to Jean Paul Gaultier.
In 1988 he founded his own fashion house in an age where excess, bling and dressing in extravagance were the norm. To better understand this period, think back to the years of Gianni Versace’s splendor and the beginnings of Marc Jacobs’ in New York at the beginning of 1989.
Our designer refused to appear in public, instead proposed an esthetic that was harsh but provocative, composed of recycled and reinterpreted clothes and materials collected from travels around the world. An ambitious, but critically successful endeavour. The destructuring of clothing is an art that only those intimately educated in tailoring would undertake, therefore even the naysayers of the fashion world had no difficulty recognising his technical ability.
In 1997, he was announced the new creative director of Hermès (years later his former maestro Jean Paul took the same creative role) shocking the fashion world at the seemingly unexpected choice and redefining the Hermès concept of elegance.
In 2009 with his retirement, his maison is absorbed into the italian conglomerate, Only the Brave (OTB).
The MoMu museum in Antwerp has announced the inauguration of a new exhibition focusing on his 6 years at Hermès, dedicating space to one of the more fascinating fashion icons of our time. This exhibition will be on display from 31st March to 27the August, 2017, displaying in it’s entirety all of the artist’s creations for this Parisian fashion house.
Nonconformity often goes hand in hand with greatness and this is the very essence of this great artist. Sig. Martin Margiela’s will to remain anonimous is relfected even in this text, where we have tried to heed, with little authority but much adoration and love.
Words Alessandro Ieva
Content editor Annie Markitanis
Picture 1 Hermès “Losanges” Spring/Summer 2003. Foto: Nathaniel Goldberg // Maison Martin Margiela lente/zomer 1989. Foto: Ronald Stoops. Graphic design: Jelle Jespers
Picture 2 Hermès “Portraits de femme en Hermès : Marie-Anne” Fall/Winter 1999-2000. Foto: Joanna Van Mulder // Maison Martin Margiela Fall/Winter 1990-1991. Foto: Ronald Stoops. Graphic design: Jelle Jespers.
Picture 3 Hermès by Martin Margiela, Harper’s Bazaar June 1998
Picture 4 Hermès by Martin Margiela, Harper’s Bazaar June 1998
Picture 5 Jean Paul Gaultier and Martin Margiela. Margiela worked as Gaultier's design assistan