Monday, December 21st, 2020

Martin Margiela : In His Own Words


How do you make an intimate documentary  when your subject refuses to be photographed?  Ask Reiner Holzemer who hot from his acclaimed profile on Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten he turned his attention one of Noten’s peers Martin Margiela.  To be honest it was Margiela’s demand was hardly news to Holzemer as he has spent his whole life avoiding being photographed and becoming known as the Banksy of fashion.

Holzemer does had a talent for making flattering profiles on some of the most creative forces in fashion, and this latest ones plays homage to the  Margiela’s sheer genius.  It’s an eye-opener to those of us who thought we knew about the man and his work, and its a joy of a discovery to those who have yet to discover what the name Margiela stands for.

After training at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, he made his way to Paris, where he worked as an assistant to Jean Paul Gaultier. The unconventional Gaultier was the “idol of the younger generation,” said Margiela who was the perfect fit there.  In the documentary a charming Gaultier in return lavish praise on Margiela, and his whole success when he went put on his own.

Actually he wasn’t completely on his own as he partnered with with Jenny Meirens to launch the label in 1989. Their collections caused a sensation from day one.  As much as for the unusual venues (like a Salvation Army location) and for the way he styled his outrageous designs that he sent down the catwalk worn by girls he had cast from the streets of Paris

Reliving all these Show with archival footage  makes you aware that Margiela completely disregarded all the norms and so-called fashion trends but created looks that initially puzzled even then most experienced fashion journalists.

Part of his raison d’etre Margiela decided that he wanted only his designs, and not himself, in the spotlight. He refused interviews and didn’t allow his picture to be taken. 

“I don’t like the idea of being a celebrity.I made this decision to protect myself. I could give more if I was protected.” 

Actually hIs desire for anonymity was symbolized in his provocative shows, in which his models frequently hid their faces behind coverings and elaborate wigs.

Margiela’s love of incorporating vintage fabric and garments in some of his collections made them couture.  Beautiful but impossibly expensive and impossible to repeat.  It helped increase the financial liabilities  of the company which in the end was bought out  by Renzo  Rosso of Diesel..

Margiela’s sideway move to Creative Director of his own company was not a good fit, and on the 20th Anniversary of starting Margiela, he walked away. Holzemer doesn’t add much to the departure just commenting that Margiela is happy now currently expresses himself artistically through such means as painting and sculpting..

Margiela may want to be modest about his remarkable legacy, but others are not and so we get  gushing testimony by various fashion critics, designers and historians.

His designs may not appeal to a wide mass but totally regardless of that and their commercial success, they are unquestionably the work of an extraordinary genius.  This movie serves as a celebration of his work, and a record to be seen for future generations.

PS Maison Margiela, still part of the Diesel Group, is now designed by John Galliano.


Posted by queerguru  at  17:07


Genres:  documentary

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