Maison Margiela

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Maison Margiela
Formerly called
Maison Martin Margiela, MMM
Private company
Industry Fashion
Founded 1988
Founder Martin Margiela
Jenny Meirens
Headquarters Paris, France
Area served
Europe, North America, Asia
Key people
Riccardo Bellini (CEO)
John Galliano (creative director)
Products Clothing, accessories, homewares
Parent OTB Group
Website www.maisonmargiela.com

Maison Margiela, formerly Maison Martin Margiela, is a French luxury fashion house headquartered in Paris and founded in 1988 by Belgian designer Martin Margiela.[1] The house produces both haute couture-inspired artisanal collections and ready-to-wear collections, with the former influencing the designs of the latter.[2] Product lines include womenswear, menswear, fine jewelry, footwear, objects, fragrance,[1] and home goods, among others.[3] Known for deconstructive and avant-garde designs with unconventional materials,[1] Maison Margiela has traditionally held live shows in unusual settings, for example empty metro stations[4] and street corners.[5] Models' faces are often obscured[6] by fabric or long hair to direct attention to the clothes and design.[7] With Maison Martin Margiela going public in 2002,[1] Margiela resigned as creative designer in 2009[8] and John Galliano was appointed to the role in 2014.[9] The company has collaborated on displays and designs with Barneys New York,[2] Converse,[10] G-Shock[11] Opening Ceremony,[3] Hermès,[5] H&M,[12] L’Oreal,[5] and Swarovski.[13]

History[edit]

Formation and early years[edit]

Maison Margiela was founded by Martin Margiela, a Belgian fashion designer, in 1988. Earlier, Margiela had studied fashion at the Royal Academy of Antwerp,[5] and although he actually graduated a year earlier, in 1979,[3] he is often mistaken for a member of the university’s Avant-garde fashion collective the Antwerp Six.[14][7] Among other influences, during the 1980s Margiela and other Belgian designers such as the Antwerp Six were inspired by deconstructive fashions introduced by Japanese avantgardists such as Rei Kawakubo—creator of the label Comme des Garçons.[15] Margiela began utilizing the deconstructive style in the 1980s[16] while a freelance designer in Milan, Italy,[17] and early on his work would often reveal the garments’ structure, for example intentionally exposed linings and seams.[5] In 1984 he became Jean Paul Gaultier’s design assistant in Paris, a role he held until 1987.[1]

In 1988, Martin launched his own self-titled design label Maison Martin Margiela[1] with business partner and fellow designer Jenny Meirens.[5][17] Initially working out of a Paris apartment,[2] they opened their first store in an unmarked white space in Paris,[18] also opening a small studio on 12 Leopoldstraat in Antwerp.[17] New York Magazine wrote that "the designer quickly defined a deconstructed look [with his new label]… Vaguely Dadaist, as if Marcel Duchamp were reincarnated as a fashion designer, Margiela questioned every tenet of fashion and luxury."[18] Vogue would later write that his early ideas "provoked shock and intrigue" in the fashion industry.[1] On the label’s garments, simple blank white labels with four white tacks[1] were sewn to signify the brand.[18] Distinct product ranges were given numbers as signifiers, in no particular chronological order.[1]

Early shows and anonymity[edit]

With New York Magazine describing the label’s early shows as "perhaps more like art happenings than the thematic and operatic productions ‘80s Paris fashion is known for,"[18] in 1988, Maison Martin Margiela presented its debut womenswear collection[1] in Paris.[18] for the spring of 1989.[19] Refusing to take bows at his live shows,[6] Margiela began avoiding pictures[18] and began handling all media via fax,[20][5] with interviews taken collectively by the entire design team[20][18] and correspondence signed with "we."[16] Many in the fashion media contended that the anonymity was a publicity stunt, although Maison Martin Margiela asserted that Margiela's anonymity was a reaction to an overly commercialized fashion industry[16][not in citation given] and a genuine attempt to return the focus of fashion to the clothing, and not the personas behind it.[20] The press dubbed Margiela the Greta Garbo of fashion as a result, a reference to Garbo’s similar avoidance of the spotlight,[14][8] and in 2008 the New York Times called Margiela "fashion's invisible man."[21]

Purchase by OTB[edit]

In 1994 the New York Times commented on the company’s influence by writing that its "made-over flea-market clothes put an end to the conspicuous consumption [of the fashion industry] of the 1980s." That year Maison Martin Margiela debuted its first period pieces.[22] In 1998, Maison Martin Margiela debuted a menswear collection, known as line 10.[1] Maison Martin Margiela oversaw creative direction of womenswear for the French design house Hermès from 1997[1] until 2003,[1] with the design team[5] working under Hermès chairman Jean-Louis Dumas.[1] After going public in 2002, the majority of Maison Martin Margiela’s shares were purchased by the[1][22] OTB Group,[1] a holding company led by Renzo Rosso, also owner of the Italian fashion label Diesel.[1][22] In December 2004, Maison Martin Margiela moved into a new headquarters in an eighteenth-century convent in Paris' 11th arrondissement. The interior of the headquarters and furniture were painted entirely white with emulsion, creating an aged look. In addition to the white surroundings, employees all wear “blouse 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.[16] By the summer of 2008 there were 14 Margiela boutiques.[5]

New design team and collections[edit]

In October 2009, it was announced that Martin Margiela had resigned as creative director of Maison Martin Margiela, to varied speculation about the reasons.[1][21] Following Margiela's departure, the anonymous design team continued to design the label, with no single creative director in place.[1] CEO Giovanni Pungetti stated that "we want to stay avant-garde, and provocative, but without a new creative director. It’s a challenge. We know this. We will probably make mistakes, but the most important thing is to learn from them." The company expanded its homewares and interior design business in 2010,[8] and in July 2011 the house designed several concept hotel suites for La Maison Champs-Élysées in Paris.[1]

By the fall of 2014, sources estimated that the brand generated about $126 million in annual revenues, with around 50 directly owned stores. In October 2014 it was announced that John Galliano would take the position of creative director,[9] after having previously served in that position at Givenchy, Dior, and his eponymous line, John Galliano.[23] As reported by the Guardian, Margiela’s only directions to the new director were "make it your own."[24] Giving rare interviews in the interim,[25] Galliano presented his debut collection for Maison Margiela in January 2015, to broadly positive reviews.[23] Coinciding with 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."[26] With Galliano focusing on the haute couture element of the company, by the end of 2015 revenues were up 30%.[24]

Stores[edit]

A Maison Martin Margiela store in Paris, France, 2012

Prior to the brand’s acquisition by OTB Group in 2002, its stores were not listed in the phone directory, and Margiela’s name did not appear outside the shops.[21] By the summer of 2008 there were 14 Margiela boutiques operating internationally, with expansion in Dubai, Hong Kong, Moscow and Munich taking place over the subsequent six months.[5] In late 2009 the brand opened a "pop-up store" at the Art Basel Miami Beach art fair.[22] The number of standalone stores had grown to 17 by 2010, with 21 "shop-in-shops" internationally.[8] With 50 directly owned stores by 2014,[9] as of 2017, Maison Margiela has stores in countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the United States, and Thailand.[27]

Products[edit]

Maison Margiela assigns each of its product ranges a number from 0 to 23 as a reference code, with no particular chronological order. Examples include fine jewelry (12), footwear (22), eyewear (8), objects (13) and fragrance (3).[1] The house produces both artisanal collections and ready-to-wear collections, with the former inspiring the designs of the latter.[2] With formal allegiance to no particular fashion movement,[20] Maison Margiela’s designs are famous for deconstructionist traits[14] such as exposed seams, being oversized and upcycling garments.[28] Other deconstructionist tactics Maison Margiela has utilized include using traditional fabric linings as the outer layers of garments,[19] and the label’s 1988 debut womenswear collection[1] included what The Independent described as "a leather butcher's apron reworked into a seductive evening gown," and an old tulle dress worked into several tailored jackets.[19] Other work with unconventional materials has included clothes fashioned of plastic carrier bags and wire coat hangers,[6] trouser suits made from 1970s upholstery fabrics, tops made with leather gloves, and jewelry made of colored ice such that clothes are dyed as the jewelry melts.[1]

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

First shown in 1989[29] and introduced in 1992,[21] one of the company’s more recognized pieces[15] is the Tabi boot, an interpretation of the traditional split Japanese tabi sock which separates the large toe.[29] In 1994 Maison Margiela debuted its first period pieces, with a line of "complete reproductions,” after building its previous collection entirely from its archives.[22] Maison Margiela debuted a menswear collection in 1998, known as line 10.[1]

Martin Margiela was creative director for womenswear of the French design house Hermès from 1997[1] until 2003,[1] with the Maison Martin Margiela team’s[5] designs for Hermès unveiled twice a year in Hermes’ rue St-Honoré store.[5] The Independent called the collections "understated," with both "loose-fitting masculine tailoring" and "black crêpe evening dresses," among other items.[5] New York MAgazine in turn described the designs as "quiet explorations of luxury that focused on classic clothes with subtle but masterful twists."[18] Maison Martin Margiela debuted its first haute couture collection in 2006.[1] In November 2008 the brand launched a small jewelry and eyewear collection including its first pair of sunglasses, described as "an impenetrable black band that wraps right around the face."[5] The house’s first fragrance was created in collaboration with L’Oreal, debuting in 2009.[5] Maison Margiela debuted a capsule collection for H&M in 2012, consisting largely of reissued pieces from the Margiela archives.[12] The company collaborated with Converse on shoe designs in 2013,[10] and has also worked with the watch brand G-Shock[11] and collaborated with Swarovski on ready-to-wear jewelry in 2013.[13]

Live shows[edit]

Maison Margiela is known for showcasing collections in atypical settings and manners,[5] with The New York Times describing the shows as "alternately electrifying or humorous or sexy or just plain weird."[21] According to New York Magazine, early shows were "perhaps more like art happenings than the thematic and operatic productions ‘80s Paris fashion is known for," as well as "radically personal and humanistic expressions about clothes [at a time] when fashion otherwise seemed estranged from everyday realities."[18] Maison Margiela's runway shows are notable in that the models' faces are often obscured by hoods,[6] fabric or long hair, in an attempt to direct attention to the clothes and away from the models themselves.[7] In 1989 Maison Margiela staged a collection on a playground in the outskirts of Paris. With local children interacting with the models in an unrehearsed way[18] and a first-come, first-served seating arrangement, according to Business of Fashion, "the critics loathed it. The industry loved it."[29] Continuing to stage catwalks in unusual places, in spring 1992 a show in an abandoned Paris metro station featured models walking down staircases lined with candles,[4] and according to The Independent, other settings have included round dining tables arranged in neglected warehouses, stairwells of old town houses, and disused subway cars.[5]

Although the house has a reputation for avoiding booking celebrity models,[6] for spring of 1993 models such as Cecilia Chancellor and Kate Moss showcased "minimalism paired with Victoriana.”[14] 1993 also saw a show with models weaving among a brass band on the runway,[18] and in 1994 the label staged a collection based on what Barbie’s wardrobe would look like full size.[21] Models sat amongst the audience in 1995,[14] and on another occasion, in 1997 the company used a map to invite the fashion press to a street corner in France, and then had the models and a Belgian brass band showcase the newest collection after disembarking from a Routemaster bus.[5] Vogue also related that "one show challenged editors and buyers to seat themselves according to their perceived importance, while another saw models wheeled out on trolleys."[1] According to Vogue, for two seasons in 1998 the label made do without live models, in one case instead using marionettes by Jane How.[14]

Kanye West wearing a mask and wardrobe by Maison Margiela on his 2013 Yeezus tour

Maison Martin Margiela was invited to show their first haute couture collection in Paris by The Chamber Syndicale in May 2006.[1] The house then held its 20th anniversary show in September 2008[30] in Paris,[9] featuring a catwalk with a walking birthday cake and "an oom-pah band surrounded by Margiela's lab-coated assistants."[19] Clothing was described as "coats made of synthetic wigs, bodysuits that fused parts of trench coats and tuxedo jackets, and mirrored tights made to look like disco balls."[21] The house designed Kanye West’s tour wardrobe in 2013 for his Yeezus tour.[31]

The spring show of 2014 "melded sweet, pioneer styles like floral house dresses with edgier fare like nude bodysuits and oversize Willy Wonka sunglasses."[9] In early 2015 the house premiered its first two collections with Galliano as head designer, initially the brand’s "artisanal" collection. The second collection comprised 30 outfits including neon accessors, "Mary-Jane shoes and fake-fur slippers, short skirts, long coats, patent finishes."[23] Galliano upheld house tradition by not taking a post-show bow, although he was in attendance at the shows.[32] The July 2016 show by the house featured items such as military coats, a parachute dress, neon face paint,[33] and 19th-century garments.[34] In September 2016, Maison Margiela partnered with Barneys New York for its fall windows on Madison Avenue, creating four vignettes to reflect the house’s recent artisans and ready-to-wear collections.[2]

Retrospectives and exhibits[edit]

The Fashion Museum Province of Antwerp (MoMu) held a retrospective on the label’s work in 2008,[20] moving the exhibit to Somerset House in London two years later.[1] In early 2015 filmmaker Alison Chernick released The Artist is Absent, a short biopic on Martin Margiela that launched at the Tribeca Film Festival.[6][35] In 2017, MoMu showcased the 12 collections the label had produced while Margiela was appointed by Jean-Louis Dumas to work with Hermès.[36]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Leaper, Caroline (October 15, 2012), "Martin Margiela", Vogue, retrieved 25 September 2015 
  2. ^ a b c d e Yotka, Steff (September 2, 2016), "The Designer Is Present! John Galliano Discusses His Maison Margiela Window Collaboration at Barneys New York", Vogue, retrieved February 15, 2017 
  3. ^ a b c "About Margiela, the Man Behind the Brand". www.thefashionlaw.com. The Fashion Law. November 21, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Yotka, Steff (November 10, 2015), "The Sound of Margiela: Frédéric Sanchez Remembers Creating the Soundtracks for Martin Margiela's First Shows", Vogue, retrieved February 17, 2017 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Martin Margiela: Fashion's invisible superstar", The Independent, 16 July 2008, retrieved February 12, 2017 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Cartner-Morley, Jess (April 27, 2015), "Margiela documentary: The Artist is Absent – what do we learn about the Greta Garbo of fashion?", The Guardian, retrieved February 15, 2017 
  7. ^ a b c The Artist Is Absent: A Short Film On Martin Margiela. YouTube. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d Oxberry, Eve (December 9, 2009), "Martin Margiels Exits Margiela", Drapers Online, retrieved February 15, 2017 
  9. ^ a b c d e Socha, Miles (6 October 2014). "John Galliano Joins Maison Martin Margiela". New York: Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Evans, Jonathan (September 6, 2013), "Converse and Maison Martin Margiela Redefine the White Sneaker", Esquire, retrieved February 15, 2017 
  11. ^ a b Bhasin, Kim (August 31, 2016), "How Does G-Shock Compete in a World of Fitbits and Apple Watches?", Bloomberg, retrieved February 15, 2017 
  12. ^ a b "Maison Martin Margiela collaborates with H&M - GQ.co.uk". GQ. Archived from the original on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  13. ^ a b Dee, Britteny (July 10, 2013), "Swarovski Crystals: Atelier Swarovski, Maison Martin Margiela Collaborate on Jewelry Collection", Fashion Times, retrieved February 15, 2017 
  14. ^ a b c d e f Borrelli-Persson, Laird (November 10, 2015), "From the Archives: 14 Shows from the Man, the Myth, the Legend Martin Margiela", Vogue, retrieved February 15, 2017 
  15. ^ a b Becho, Anabela (2016), "How radical Japanese fashion inspired Belgium's avant garde", Dazed, retrieved February 17, 2017 
  16. ^ a b c d "Inside Martin Margiela's All-White Maison". Another Magazine. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  17. ^ a b c Agerman, Johanna (April 2009), "Martin Margiela", Icon, retrieved February 15, 2017 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Lewis, Jeremy (April 17, 2015), "A Peek Behind the Martin Margiela Mystique", New York Magazine, retrieved February 15, 2017 
  19. ^ a b c d Walker, Harriet (6 December 2009). "Out of sight, not out of mind: Celebrating two decades of Martin Margiela magic". The Independent. London. Retrieved 6 December 2009. 
  20. ^ a b c d e Kusoth Studio, Joseph (September 1, 2008), "Maison Martin Margiela", Interview Magazine, retrieved February 15, 2017 
  21. ^ a b c d e f g Wilson, Eric (1 October 2008). "Fashion World Studies Margiela's Looks and His Next Move". The New York Times. 
  22. ^ a b c d e Menkes, Suzy (December 8, 2009), "Martin Margiela to Leave Fashion House He Founded", The New York Times, retrieved February 12, 2017 
  23. ^ a b c Ostler, Catherine (April 24, 2015), "John Galliano is Back and Ready to Take Over the Fashion World", Newsweek.com, retrieved 2015-09-26 
  24. ^ a b Cochrane, Lauren (July 6, 2016), "Maison Margiela: topsy-turvy designs with historical depth", The Guardian, retrieved February 17, 2017 
  25. ^ "In rare interview, John Galliano explains how Maison Margiela helps him be freer and more calm", Fashion & Luxury, December 22, 2016, archived from the original on 2017-01-10, retrieved February 17, 2017 
  26. ^ "Maison Margiela Changes Name Loses Martin". Vogue UK. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  27. ^ Find a store, Maison Margiela, 2017, retrieved February 17, 2017 
  28. ^ Menkes, Suzy (6 September 1994). "Martin Margiela". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 December 2009. 
  29. ^ a b c O’Mahony, Richard (February 16, 2016), "Remembered: The Game-Changing Martin Margiela Show of 1989", Business of Fashion, retrieved February 17, 2017 
  30. ^ Mower, Sarah (November 10, 2015), "Margiela, Mon Amour", Vogue, retrieved February 17, 2017 
  31. ^ Alexander, Ella (November 6, 2013), "Why Margiela Teamed Up With Kanye", Vogue, retrieved February 12, 2017 
  32. ^ Cartner-Morley, Jess (March 2, 2016), "John Galliano takes Maison Margiela non-traditional", The Guardian, retrieved February 17, 2017 
  33. ^ Dacre, Karen (July 6, 2016), "John Galliano offers a point of extreme difference at the end of couture week with latest Maison Margiela spectacle", The Standard, retrieved February 17, 2017 
  34. ^ Adamson, Thomas (July 6, 2016), "Paris haute couture fashion week reaches creative climax in Maison Margiela and Elie Saab", National Post, retrieved February 17, 2017 
  35. ^ "Martin Margiela Documentary - Tribeca Film Festival Shorts, Yoox - Vogue". Vogue. Archived from the original on 14 August 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  36. ^ Singer, Olivia (April 27, 2015), "The Artist is Absent: Martin Margiela", Another Magazine, retrieved February 12, 2017 

External links[edit]