Martin (1957). Belgian designer. Margiela studied at the Fine Art Academy in Antwerp. He began a course in graphic design and then moved into fashion, presenting his first designs in a collective with five other finishing students at the Academy. He worked in Milan in the early 1980s, afterwards returning to Antwerp, where he was employed as a designer by various department stores. In 1984 he created his first collection of ready-made womenswear. In the same year he became Gaultier’s assistant, where he remained until 1987. In Paris he collaborated with Jenny Maeirens and in October 1989 he launched a prêt-à-porter collection. His designs had an immediately recognizable style: great creativity in the use of techniques and ideas, with elements taken from many different cultures, ethnic motifs, used and recycled materials. In 1989 the Musée Galliera in Paris dedicated an exhibition to his work. He was the first designer, in 1990, to break with tradition and hold a catwalk show outside the Cour Carrée of the Louvre: from then onwards he has always selected atmospheric places to hold his shows, such as railway tunnels or abandoned garages. He continues to be highly experimental and his collections are always a melting pot of ideas. In 1997 he was nominated artistic director for Hermès prêt-à-porter.
THE MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA HAS HAD A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH STAFF INTERNATIONAL SINCE 1991, AND THIS RELATIONSHIP HAS ONLY BEEN BUILT ON AND DEEPENED SINCE. 1993 SAW THE FIRST MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA RETROSPECTIVE COLLECTION WITH ITS COLLECTION FOR SPRING-SUMMER 1994 COMPRISING A SELECTION OF THE MOST PROMINENT GARMENTS FROM THE PREVIOUS 10 SEASONS. THE FIRST SOLO MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA EXHIBITION WAS HELD IN 1997 AT THE BOIJMANS VAN BEUNINGEN MUSEUM. ITS EXHIBITION WAS EXECUTED IN COLLABORATION WITH A MICROBIOLOGIST AND INVOLVED CREATING SILHOUETTES OF MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA’S DESIGNS TREATED IN BACTERIAS AND MOULDS.
OVER ITS CAREER, THE MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA HAS BEEN HONOURED TO BE INVITED TO EXPRESS ITS WORK IN MANY OF THE WORLD’S FOREMOST MUSEUMS. GARMENTS FOR LINE ‘6’, THE FORERUNNER TO TODAY’S MM6, WAS FIRST INTRODUCED IN OCTOBER 1997 AND IT WAS AT THIS STAGE THAT THE MAISON’S INFAMOUS AND RESPECTED BLANK WHITE RECTANGULAR LABEL WAS FIRST ADAPTED TO INCORPORATE THE NUMBERS 0 TO 23. THE DIGIT ENCIRCLED ON THE LABEL DENOTES THE COLLECTION THE GARMENT IS PART OF. THE FIRST MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA’S COLLECTION FOR MEN FOLLOWED SHORTLY IN 1998, FOR SPRING/SUMMER 1999.