Maison Martin Margiela
- Nele Bernheim
Fashion design company in Paris named for its Belgian-born designer, Martin Margiela. Since 1988 Maison Martin Margiela has presented cutting-edge collections in which creative boundaries are often pushed to their extremes.
Martin Margiela studied fashion design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Antwerp (1976-80). After graduating, Margiela freelanced for Italian and Belgian design companies. Unlike his fellow alumni, the so-called ‘Antwerp Six’, with whom he is often associated, Margiela left Belgium for good, working first as an assistant to the French fashion designer Edward Molyneux in Paris from 1984 to 1987. In 1988, together with Jenny Meirens, he established Maison Martin Margiela in Paris. Their first show, held at the Café de la Gare in October that year, was a pivotal moment in fashion history. Instead of the power-dressing and glitter of the 1980s, Maison Martin Margiela proposed a radically different silhouette: narrow shouldered and floor-skimming in sober tones. It was at this show that the narrow jacket with cropped shoulders was introduced. In addition, the ‘tabi-boot’, a split-toe shoe or boot inspired by traditional Japanese footwear and one of the house’s most distinctive accessories, made its first appearance. Models in this show (veiled so as not to distract attention from the clothes) left trails of red paint on the white cotton carpet. From this stained carpet, waistcoats were made for the following season....