Behind the White Curtains of Maison Martin Margiela

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Published January 4, 2010

 

Collections are the stuff of interpretation, but if the Miami pop-up shared with Fendi is any indication, not only has Martin Margiela left the maison, but the door is open for its owner, Diesel, to re-imagine the brand. And what we’ve seen isn’t so much a betrayal of the Margiela ethic as a coy tweeking of it. Take for example the video tour of the Margiela atelier in Paris? Clearly, such a peeping tom maneuver would have been blasphemy in another era.

The old Margiela wouldn’t have bothered with a behind-the-scenes video: the studio was secretive and b-roll is B-list. This new regime does the video, but they don’t give much more. Over an instrumental soundtrack that’s either cloyingly or cheekily coy, we catch glances of the infamous wig coat looms. We see seamstresses dissect bungee cords and affix broken reflectors to dresses. But we don’t see much more. Margiela clothing has always been more than the sum of its parts and watching the transformation of ordinary household items into couture doesn’t take away the collection’s magic. We’re just unsure what we’re seeing.