Designer focus

Maison Margiela

Reputable Belgian designer Martin Margiela started his eponymous label in 1988. His designs revolutionised the industry with eccentric, groundbreaking looks and a profound affection for deconstruction. The maison is currently led creatively by John Galliano.


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About the designer

French luxury house Maison Martin Margiela was founded in 1988 by Martin Margiela. The Belgian designer launched his eponymous label after graduating from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and working as a design assistant to Jean Paul Gaultier for two years. As Margiela shied away from the public and spent most of his career under the radar, lending his name to the maison is the most overt the designer has ever been.

Crafting both haute couture and coveted prêt-a-porter, the label always kindled a craving for more. Unconventional fabrics are expertly deconstructed, adding to the avant-garde ethos the brand houses. Exposed white stitching is an eminent symbol to devoted fashion aficionado’s, as it ornaments the house’s innovative silhouettes.

Martin Margiela relinquished the maison in 2009, leaving the house without a creative director for five years until British designer John Galliano took the reins in 2014. The label quietly changed its original name not long thereafter, omitting ‘Martin’ to signal a new beginning, without losing its avid fan base. Galliano was no stranger to the world of luxury fashion, as he led both Givenchy and Dior for years and was acclaimed as ‘British Designer of the Year’ four times.

Collection autumn/winter 2017

Staying true to Maison Margiela’s roots, John Galliano took a fresh approach to its signature elements of deconstruction. By cutting out shapes and sometimes immense chunks from pieces of clothing, the skill behind designing becomes visible, even for the untrained eye. This way, Galliano managed to create a tangible allure that shifts away from being overcomplicated but remains experimental. As we’ve become accustomed to with Maison Margiela, we were served with an innovative and different collection, giving us something to ponder over afterwards. Thanks to the cut-out Statue of Liberty, use of patchwork, varsity jackets and Marilyn Monroe references, the all-American feel of the collection was instantly recognisable and provided us with exactly what the show notes promised, ‘memories which unite us and give us hope’. It may be one of the most political statements Galliano has ever made, but he has done it in style.