Maison Margiela

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Since 1999
defining avant-garde

Maison Margiela is
a brand that
redefines the nature
of fashion, including
the range of objects
that can be considered
as fashion

In the early 1980s, as the avant-garde outputs produced by Japanese designers debuting at the Paris collections perturbed the sartorial establishment, a group of Belgian fashion students who would later also come to prominence for their deconstructionist approaches were graduating from the Royal Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts. Martin Margiela, a contemporary of the so-called Antwerp Six, first worked freelance, then as an assistant designer to Jean-Paul Gaultier before starting his own label in 1988.

Margiela creates styles that challenge conventional ideas of where the parts of a garment are located. Margiela is labeled as avant-garde, the aesthetic is often described as deconstructed or anti-fashion. The brand utilizes new artistic tools and techniques, meaning non-traditional or new construction techniques and tools. Margiela also chose to replace traditional cutting techniques with slashing, ripping, and tearing.


Maison Margiela is
a fashion brand
simultaneously forming
and deforming,
constructing and
destroying, making
and undoing
clothes, looks,
styles and
even colors

Margiela challenged the chaotic nature of fashion in a time period where extremely loose rules of fashion existed and during an era when “anything goes”. The 1960s saw the beginning of these fashion changes where “no one style was going to win general acceptance”. This trend continued throughout the last half of the 20th century until today.

Martin Margiela was a prominent high-fashion designer in the 1990s, and this era in particular had an eclectic mix of styles; few people obediently followed the fashion media, trends, or trend forecasts. Fashion influences simultaneously “trickled down”, “trickled up”, and “trickeld across” as individuals constructed their appearance from a bricolage of available materials and influences. High fashion therefore was often perceived as less shocking due to the acceptable styles available to each individual.

In the 80s, the Japanese designers redefined the concepts of fashion by presenting un-conventional designs. Kawakubo, Miayaki, and Yamamoto presented styles such as monochromatic, asymmetrical and oversized looks. Elsa Schiaparelli was the first avant-garde fashion designer in the early 20th century. She incorporated surrealist ideas into her designs by creating outrageous experiments in which artifacts and body parts were placed in unusual locations, such as a hat in the form of a shoe.

Margiela is true to its avant-garde roots, as the brand redefines artistic conventions, utilizes new artistic tools and techniques and redefines the nature of the art objects (garments), including the range of objects that can be considered as artworks.

The Paris-based house creates womenswear and menswear according to the uniquely unconventional principles imagined by Martin Margiela himself, a philosophy in which deconstruction and heritage go hand in hand to create designs that showcase fashion as an art of meaning rather than a cult of personality. Maison Margiela crosses the fashion spectrum from its ‘Artisanal’ collection, which has held the “Haute Couture” appellation since 2012, through ready-to-wear and accessories.

John Galliano was named Creative Director of the house in 2014, bringing his sense of spectacle and creative mastery to the unique ethos of Maison Margiela. Whilst developing his own vision for the house, John Galliano has entirely respected the Martin Margiela state of mind, creating a fascinating organic process.

Modern fashion respecting a unique heritage

Daring and ambiguous, the Maison designs Haute Couture, women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, small leather goods, footwear, fine jewelry, fragrances, interior design and MM6, its contemporary line





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