Maison Margiela

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Maison Margiela
Private company
Industry Fashion
Founded 1988
Founder Martin Margiela
Headquarters Paris, France
Key people
John Galliano, Creative Director

Maison Margiela, formerly Maison Martin Margiela which commonly abbreviated as "MMM", is a French luxury fashion house headquartered in Paris and founded in 1988 by Belgian designer Martin Margiela. It is known for its luxury Italian-made avant garde and deconstructed ready-to-wear and leather accessories.


Trompe l'oeil print jersey dresses by Maison Martin Margiela, Spring/Summer 1996 (left) and 2012 H&M reissue (right)

Martin Margiela is considered the honorary seventh member of the Antwerp Six group of designers who emerged from Antwerp Fashion Academy in 1980 (though Margiela himself graduated in 1979).[1] Margiela moved to Paris in 1984, working for three years as a design assistant to Jean Paul Gaultier. In 1988, Maison Martin Margiela presented its debut womenswear collection. In 1998, Maison Martin Margiela debuted a menswear collection, known as line 10.[2]

In 2002, Maison Margiela was acquired by Italian fashion conglomerate OTB Group, led by Diesel founder Renzo Rosso. In October 2009, it was announced that Martin Margiela had resigned as Creative Director of Maison Martin Margiela. Insiders speculated that Margiela's departure was the result of a struggle within the company resulting from Rosso's desire to make Maison Martin Margiela an international brand, which Margiela felt compromised its integrity and mission. Following Margiela's departure, the anonymous design team continued to design the label, with no single creative director in place.[2]

In 2004, Maison Martin Margiela moved into a new headquarters in an eighteenth-century convent in Paris' 11th arrondissement. The interior of the headquarters is entirely white, with furniture painted with white emulsion. In addition to the white surroundings, employees all wear "blousons blanche", white coats traditionally worn by couture craftsmen. The white coats are both a nod to history and aesthetics, as well as an equalizer, as all employees wear them, regardless of title re.[3] Maison Margiela's runway shows are notable in that the models' faces are often obscured by fabric or long hair, in an attempt to direct attention to the clothes, and away from the models themselves.[1]

In 2012, Maison Martin Margiela debuted a capsule collection for H&M, consisting largely of reissued pieces from the Margiela archives.[4]

In October 2014, it was announced that John Galliano would take up the position of Creative Director, after having previously served in that position at Givenchy, Dior, and his eponymous line, John Galliano. Galliano presented his debut collection for Maison Margiela in January 2015, to broadly positive reviews.[5]

In January 2015, coinciding with John Galliano's debut collection, it was revealed that the house had dropped "Martin" from its name, in favor of "Maison Margiela". A spokesperson for Maison Margiela said that the name change "represented an evolution of the house"[6] Also in 2015, a short documentary produced by YOOX about Martin Margiela entitled The Artist is Absent debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival [7]


Martin Margiela is known for avoiding the media spotlight, reacting to what he feels is an overly commercialized fashion industry. During his tenure at Maison Martin Margiela, he did not grant interviews, was not photographed, and did not appear at the end of the Maison Martin Margiela runway show, as is customary in the fashion industry. Communication with the press was conducted via fax, and all correspondence was signed "we" instead of "I". Many in the fashion media contended that Margiela's illusiveness was a publicity stunt. For their part, Maison Martin Margiela asserted that Margiela's disappearance was a genuine attempt to return the focus of fashion to the clothing, and not the personas behind it.[3] Margiela's absence from public life earned him the title "fashion's invisible man" in a 2008 New York Times profile.[8]


  1. ^ a b The Artist Is Absent: A Short Film On Martin Margiela. YouTube. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Martin Margiela". Vogue UK. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Inside Martin Margiela's All-White Maison". Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  4. ^ "Maison Martin Margiela collaborates with H&M -". GQ. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  5. ^ "John Galliano is Back and Ready to Take Over the Fashion World". Retrieved 2015-09-26. 
  6. ^ "Maison Margiela Changes Name Loses Martin (". Vogue UK. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  7. ^ "Martin Margiela Documentary - Tribeca Film Festival Shorts, Yoox - Vogue". Vogue. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  8. ^ "Fashion’s Invisible Man". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-26.