Date 13.03.2016

MARGIELA-ISM: the 21st century influenced by Martin Margiela – Artworks by Ulises Chamorro

Paris (FR): What if the French maison Dior never announces new head designer and turns into a family design team? What if we – the diggibals (humans devouring digital info from other human beings) receive no opportunity this time to create the spectacular ovation we have become addicted to? When we scream like parrots will a new designer be appointed? Will we become fashionably unhappy? Will we lose Instagram followers for lacking sensation? Give us drama please!

Antwerp (BE): Even without RAF SIMONS designing for women this season, the small Belgium town keeps occupying the city of love. With only thirty-two looks, HAIDER ACKERMANN proved that he completely owned the vision of his woman – the woman he has always dreamed about. And there he was again, DRIES VAN NOTEN, making men –including me – jealous of women’s wardrobes with his sharpened country design identity.

Last Friday Paris ended its fall-winter 2016 sales campaigns in a disorderly fashion with notorious shortcomings. There are diverse criteria for evaluating collections – this time shape trumps – with particular mention going to MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA is all about hiding the body through accentuated shoulders and exaggerated silhouettes under tailored chassis. This is not new in fashion – Monsieur Martin Margiela caused a revolution at the end of last century with these shapes – and it is his influence rescuing fashion this year as designers have dug into his archives. Some design aspects, impertinent-irritant and too obvious, are almost effortless and lazy, while others are brilliantly revamped. No matter how, the Belgium designer is without doubt the current master that fashion looks to.

On the contrary, the existing brand Maison Margiela (I call it brand since it is now owned by OTB Group S.A. and Martin Margiela himself is no longer head designer) seems to take its own legacy rather more lightly. By letting Galliano show his hand, the brand has rejuvenated the Margiela archive while also adding to its rich history. Replicas do not convince people anymore, it’s clear the new Maison Margiela is now Maison Galliano and there’s nothing wrong with that. With many designers orbiting around the Belgian master, fashion should not conclude success is just around the corner by appropriating word-for-word Margiela’s vision. Back to sales, it will be in the coming days when orders will be closed, numbers will be drawn up and fabrics and trimmings will be ordered; we will finally know how powerful the season was or not. That’s the reality moment for the industry, the closing numbers, and no Instagram post will prove otherwise- voilà!


Openly, the central attention goes to the real Spanish conquistadores LOEWE and BALENCIAGA.  They have no worries in hiring non-French designers, with J.W. Anderson and Demna Gvasalia responsible for their own design tables, and LOEWE and BALENCIAGA’s respectively. For both houses, it’s not a singular individual that can conclude how talented these designers are or are not in the coming seasons (give it at least three), but their distributors, retailers and consumers. And when I refer to consumers, I mean those that pay full price, have no social media accounts and never go hunting for online discounts. That’s the ultimate fashion system, the one we all should aim for. I hope and believe soon the designer’s role will become hidden behind the house brand. I do not think we need to scream before time has proven how capable these designers are. And I hope full-price clients will be seated front row and I guarantee you we would not know who they are – they are real fashion people!

It might be a pity that I did not immediately scream on the first day of fashion week when JACQUEMUS sent his Mario Baracus cartoonist look influenced by MARGIELA-ISM. Sometimes it’s modest to hold a sense of reality and sign it with total confidence in the end. Maybe the Parisian Chambre Syndicale de la Mode could follow this approach and act with strength and confidence too: why is H&M part of the official fashion calendar? Sponsorship?  It’s a disgrace to the real designers and fashion professionals. Rebuilding the industry starts by eliminating those ridiculous corrupt parasites that are polluting the system. There’s plenty more work to be done than just observing history in design. All efforts must be made to reestablish pride to our industry.