From 22nd March to 2nd September, 2018, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs is hosting the exhibition “Margiela, les années Hermès” originally devised by the ModeMuseum (MoMu) in collaboration with Martin Margiela and presented in antwerp in 2017.
22 March - 2 September 2018
Tuesday to Sunday 11am – 6pm Late opening Thursday until 9pm
Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
This unprecedented project highlights a collaboration between Hermès and the belgian designer, from 1997 to 2003, that was as surprising as it was fertile his tribute to Martin Margiela provides the first ever opportunity in France to exhibit his women’s ready-to-wear collections for the famous Parisian house in contrast with his own creations under his eponymous label. The interplay of 98 accessorised silhouettes that move between innovative deconstruction and timeless luxury, offers an understanding of and an insight into Martin Margiela’s very personal approach. The fashion designer’s two worlds thus provide the starting point for the “Margiela, les années Hermès” exhibition, for which the artistic direction is to be undertaken by Martin Margiela himself.
In October 1997, when Jean-Louis Dumas, who was Chairman and Artistic Director of Hermès at the time, asked Martin Margiela to design the women’s ready-to-wear collections, Margiela had already been regarded as one of the most in uential avant-garde gures in the eld for nearly a decade. It was nonetheless a daring choice, breaking with trends in the world of fashion, which was more inclined to take on “star” stylists. Hermès caused quite a stir by enlisting this iconoclastic designer, whose very face was unknown to most. He has, moreover, never given a single interview. From 1997 to 2003, supported by the expertise of the Hermès studio and its workshops, whose values he shares, Martin Margiela instilled a consistent and profound vision of contemporary luxury through twelve consecutive collections.
Considered to be one of the most atypical and inscrutable designers of his genera- tion, Martin Margiela is one of the few to have radically shaken up and reinvented the world of fashion. After founding his own brand, the Maison Martin Margiela, in 1988, he decided from the outset to make anonymity one of his fundamental characteristics, refusing to allow his name to appear on his designs; a simple white label sewn on with four stitches became his emblem. The famous “Meudon white” was chosen as his hallmark for fashion shows and attire for his staff, who all wore identical, immaculate white coats. Martin Margiela’s work subsequently evolved against the ow of the label-ob- sessed era of standardisation which was already looming large. He sparked surprise with his constructed-deconstructed cuts, oversized shapes, recycled materials and monochrome fabrics that emphasised the artisanal aspect of his designs.
Comfort, timelessness, sensuality and authenticity are the key words which de ne his vision of the Hermès woman, combined with a pared-down style. He imposed a new range of understated, monochrome colours which broke away from the colourful world of Hermès prints and astonished the press. On entering the exhibition, visitors im- mediately discover two distinct styles that reveal a fascinating dialogue between the clothes designed by Margiela for Hermès and those created for his own maison. The display features a succession of themed sequences with over 100 out ts, photo- graphs and short lms in a circuit in which Hermès orange interacts with the white of the Maison Martin Margiela.
Bob Verhelst, Scenographer and Art Director
Born in Antwerp, Belgium, and still lives and works in the city for both Belgian and international museums.
Maison Martin Margiela — Spring/Summer 1996
Photo Credits: Marina Faus