01 December 2009

FIRST LOOK: Maison Martin Margiela!

Grazia Daily is pleased. 2009 has been a difficult year for Maison Martin Margiela, with the publicity-shy designer parting company with the brand he founded in 1989 in a typically reclusive manner. Whilst in Spring 2009, the line was: "He's more consulting with us than designing every product. The team is more Margiela than him,” October saw an official(ish) declaration that Martin Margiela and his Maison had completely parted company, when Renzo Rosso (who owns Maison Martin Margiela, along with Diesel) announced that "Martin has not been there for a long time. We have a new fresh design team on board".

The announcement about just who was or wasn't heading the design team came just after an, erm, interesting collection for SS10 (it was described as ‘tragic’ by Suzy Menkes). But now, Grazia Daily is pleased to report that Maison Martin Margiela, is very much back with a vengeance, after launched an amazing limited collection with online retailer yoox.com.

MMM’s Artisanal collection (entitled ‘0’ or ‘0 +10’ in Maison Martin Margiela speak) launched yesterday on yoox.com, a limited sale running until 26th February 2010 that will benefit the “Rosa Spier House”, a non-profit dedicated to housing retired artists and academics. Grazia Daily has some exclusive images of the project, which you can’t see anywhere else (don’t say we never give you anything...)

The collection contains hand reworked pieces from Maison Martin Margiela’s archive from 2005 – 2009 and is, as you might expect, completely, utterly, gorgeously bonkers. Grazia’s favourite piece has to be the famous wig jacket, not least because it brings our dream of being Kate Moss just a little bit closer (La Moss wore a blonde version of the jacket on the front cover of this year’s V magazine swimsuit issue.) Alongside this there is a puff-sleeved raincoat made entirely from umbrellas (geddit?), a cropped vintage jacket completely covered in black gaffer tape, and a very Gaga-esque, one-shouldered mirrored top. The wig-coat comes in at an eye-watering £4,900, and the cheapest item in the collection is a necklace at £550, but that’s not going to stop us wishing.

That's before we even begin to talk about the wearability factor - a DVF wrap-dress this ain't. Maison Martin Margiela has never been the kind of brand where ‘wearability’ is key, though. The design philosophy was succinctly described by Patrick Scallon - former head of communications at MMM - as “absence equals presence” and “the cult of impersonality”. This is an increasingly unusual philosophy amongst designers in an era when personality and celebrity has become the currency du jour, but it has always been at the heart of MMM's whitewashed, subtle character. This is, after all a designer who has never been photographed, virtually never gives interviews, and whose clothing labels were completely blank.

Maison Martin Margiela is keeping tight-lipped about just who was involved in the creation of the collection, or indeed who has replaced the big man as head designer. (Grazia Daily’s enquiries today elicited a classic ‘no comment’) but the fact that this collection draws on archive pieces from Maison Martin Margiela’s back catalogue ensures that the man himself was involved at some level.

That, for all the MMM fans out there wanting to grab a last piece of fashion history, is likely to make this collection a very successful endeavour for The Maison...even without the Monsieur.

- Alex Butt


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