"For those who value unidentifiable, elegant dressing, Margiela's the man" so wrote Sarah Mower in her review of the AW06 Maison Martin Margiela collection on Style.com. Six years on, and the secret's out. I am in New York, as a guest of H&M, to preview the collection and attend tonight's launch which promises to be quite an incredible party. What is perhaps most striking about the collection is the way that the Maison Martin Margiela (MMM) team have picked through their archives to choose 100 pieces (60 women's and 40 men's) which do the job of making the unidentifiable, identifiable. Images of these pieces will be all over the internet, on TV, in shop windows and will likely end up being worn by the huge numbers of fashion fans who will flock to buy the collection when it launches on November 15th. This is a whole new level of designer collaboration for H&M, who are bringing a much-loved but nevertheless niche fashion name to the masses.
Nothing in the collection is new, but is a "re-edition"of an original MMM design. A member of MMM- anyone who works for the brand remains anonymous- told me today that "we looked through the archives to see what would be the most iconic pieces. It was about what resonated with the team". The H&M collaboration pieces don't come with the signature four white, tack stitches which usually denote an MMM design, instead a giant white label is fastened to each one which explains a description of the garment and a reference to the season in which it was originally seen. The MMM team assured me that all the patterns are identical to those of the originals, all that changes for the H&M range are the fabrics and the production process. There is a leather jacket in the men's collection, for example, based on a design originally constructed by hand stitching together belts. It's become a hugely popular coat- "it gets requested all the time"- which has now been made democratic via the H&M collection.
|SS05: Chloe Sevigny wears horizontal top and skirt of which there is a dress version |
in the H&M collaboration
|Reconstructed man to woman biker|
MMM: THEN AND NOW
The Red Wedges
|Backstage at SS07|
|Plexiglass heels in Margiela with H&M|
|AW99-00 Maison Martin Margiela|
|Bill Cunningham's page in the New York Times devoted to the duvet coat|
|And now it's back for Margiela with H&M|
|The Circle Shirt from SS02|
|.... now reprised for 2012|
|Tattoo print from Margiela's first collection for SS 1989|
|Revived in thicker fabric for today|
All images by Fashion Junior at Large and from Maison Martin Margiela, the book.