Tribute to Martin Margiela 3 – The Evolution of Maison Martin Margiela

This is a very belated post, I know. I could say millions of excuses but it wouldn’t change the fact that I’m posting late, so I’m sorry. Now let’s get to the gems, shall we?

MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA, what occurs to your head when you hear of that particular brand? Simple, abstract, avant garde, deconstructive, twisted, out-of-the-blue, and you guess more. The concept of the fashion house has obviously evolved, since the day it was founded (by Martin Margiela himself and Jenny Meirens) until now. According to Margiela’s major stakeholder, Martin hadn’t been active for quite a long time (spoken in October 2009). Further statement made in December disclosed that he had left the business and that no replacement was appointed as the new creative director of MMM.

a very shy Margiela

THAT, was where his design team kicked in. From the October 2009 interview, it was stated that Margiela has not been involved in terms of designing and in the company as he was before (stating that “he has not been there for a long time”), meaning that all the designs were already on the hands and brains of his team for quite some time. The design team was the creative director and conceptor altogether, and that’s why there was no urgent need to replace Martin as the creative director, the team already got it covered. In my previous post, I’ve mentioned that Martin Margiela used to tell his team that they are “more Margiela than he was”. The Maison was about the creative energy and the nullity concept, and not about a particular person or designer.

Now take a look at the evolution of the Maison’s designs since the day it started. Watch the evolution of the brand and see the difference pre and post Martin Margiela’s exit? Which one do you prefer? MMM with Martin Margiela or without?

 [photos courtesy of and official facebook page of Maison Martin Margiela]

Martin Margiela early works

S/S 1989 and S/S 1990

Tabi boots 1990

Tabi boots, 1990

topless sandals 1996

“Topless sandals”, sandals with soles only and wrapped around with cellophane tapes

A/W 1995

A/W 1995

S/S 2003

Below are the collections designed by MMM’s design team, since Martin’s supposed exit at December 2009. Now, do you notice any difference in terms of conception and creativity?

Artisanal 2009, around the time Margiela’s disengagement with the Maison was made public

S/S 2011

S/S 2011

Défilé A/W 2012

Défilé collection from A/W 2012

artisanal haute couture aw 2012

Artisanal Haute Couture A/W 2012

MM6 collection from A/W 2013

MM6 collection from A/W 2013

They also recently released a foldable shopping bag that turns into a clutch when folded. Here’s how it looks

maison martin margiela foldable shopping bags

Shopping bag/ clutch

I’ve mentioned before that Martin used to tell his team that they are more Margiela than him. You could definitely see a difference there. The new designs were bringing bolder colors and even more daring patterns and prints. You couldn’t really hate or prefer one over the other (at least for me), they’re different, but they’re both Maison Martin Margiela. The original designs definitely inspired the newer ones, apparent with the odd patterns, deconstructed body lines, and face masks.

I can say that I salute the design team for continuing the path of MMM. It’s different from the one Martin was pursuing, but it’s still one hell of a path they dived in.

 Posts in the series:

Tribute to Martin Margiela 1 – Why It’s Crucial to Know Him

Tribute to Martin Margiela 2 – His Early Works, Concepts, Stores, and Teams

-The Dilly Chic-

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7 Thoughts.

  1. Yep ! Something has definitely changed, but it is very hard to put in words. The original MMM maybe had more shock value, and really questioned the innate quality of things…. I can imagine Margiela thinking in his head… why do have models have to look all pretty and take the attention clothes deserve.. and hence the mask. Why do shoes can’t accommodate the foot shape more or why do sandals need straps at all.

    The design’s team “why can’t a shopping bag be a clutch” came the closest to original MMM for me. I quite liked it. But I have to agree that it is difficult to choose one over the other.

    Swati @ The Creative Bent

    P.S. the S/S 1990 cut-out dress feels so contemporary.

    • I definitely agree that they’ve changed, but can’t quite grasp what it is that differs them . The original Margiela laid out the foundation, the solid base, and the current design team further elaborates the building. Nonetheless they’ve done a great job maintaining the existence of MMM, whether it’s in the direction that Martin had wanted or another.

  2. Pingback: A Tribute to Martin Margiela 1 - Why You Should Know Him

  3. Pingback: Tribute to Martin Margiela 2 - His Early Works, Concepts, Stores, and Team

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