Martin Margiela : The fashion luminary that the world has never met
The fashion luminary that the world has never met
Maison Margiela is among the most prestigious names in high fashion, renowned for reimagining and innovating classic garments in a modern landscape. The French fashion house was conceived by founder Martin Margiela in 1988 and has become a luxurious staple in pop/hip-hop culture in the last decade, notably designing the tour costumes for Kanye West’s 2013 𝘠𝘦𝘦𝘻𝘶𝘴 tour. Much like their iconic oversized white label, Maison Margiela boasts a mystique that stems from their arcane founder, a sort-of-Great Gatsby of luxury fashion.
Martin Margiela was born in Genk, Belgium and similar to his haute couture counterpart RAF Simons, attended the seasoned Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. From his high-fashion debut in 1988, Margiela’s anti-fashion, simplistic approach to branding and designing would invite a new wave of creativity into the field in the late 90s/early 00s. Martin was immensely respected by his peers; the late Alexander McQueen once called his work “instant classics”. Often mirroring his conceptual design tastes, Martin Margiela is a fashion enigma to this day; famously remaining anonymous throughout his entire career and refusing interviews of any kind. This theme of mystery was allegorical in his designs, as he was known for ‘masking’ the identity of his models by covering their faces in early shows. To this day, there is only one known photo (fig. 1) of the legendary designer, and it has never been confirmed by the Maison.
Adding to his perplexing legacy, Martin memorably stepped down from his own company in 2008 at its peak, noting that the demands of consumerism in the modern fashion world were too much to cope with.