the photo of a man purported by the New York Times to be Martin Margiela circa 1997
Renzo Rosso’s recent confirmation that not only has Martin Margiela left the company but that he has been absent for some time came as no surprise. Those who have been watching the label over the past several years have seen it wane from one of the premiere fashion think tanks to a confusing enigma in both the awkward catwalk presentations and its heavily merchandised (and manipulated) commercial ranges.
Yet Margiela’s name still stirs and the designer, more so than the Maison, is regarded as one of the greatest of all contemporary talents. His oeuvre stands as the one of most potent and successful efforts to bring fashion forward into the post-modern world. Yet, it’s easy to forget the years between 1998 and 2004 when Margiela was also the women’s design director for one of the most prestigious luxury goods companies – Hermès.
Marrying high concept with high prestige, Margiela showed another dimension of his ethos. Remotely displaced from any proper stage for deconstruction, trans-appropriation, or any other of his challenging conceptual devices – it was all in the silhouette, proportions, and fabrics that Margiela achieved his subversion of the venerable brand. And, it is further evidence of the full weight of his single creative contribution despite that the Maison has always spoken and acted under the auspices of a collective.
all runway images Christopher Moore