Martin Margiela founded his seminal Maison in 1988, after graduating from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Art. Closely associated with the deconstructionist fashion movement of the 1980s, today it is characterised by an appreciation of imperfection, personality and eccentricity, producing innovative versions of menswear classics.
The notoriety of French fashion house Maison Margiela is well documented much more than its occult of design, which is often overlooked by the brand’s army of followers who are more keenly aware of Margiela’s observable artfulness. Everything from Margiela’s use of the color white to labels which are forged in numbers play an unassuming role in a bigger picture that few are aware of.
We deconstruct a couple of the parts to get a closer insight to the brand and its core values.
The Color White
The color white is fundamentally major in Maison Margiela. From the collections’ themes and the all-white paint exterior of the Converse collaboration, to the white interiors of the stores and the white lab coats worn by staff, the brand has become famous for featuring the muted shade. Firstly, the recurring use of white symbolically aligns with Maison Margiela’s brand philosophy of being “a symbol of unity and purity.” Significantly, the brand also embraces a “one voice with many bodies” attitude. The white lab coats enable employees to work in uniformed unity as a cohesive entity together in their white surroundings. This also essentially dismantles that top-down hierarchy so commonly seen in high fashion houses.
Maison Margiela’s signature style of minimal branding serves as a stark contrast to its other high fashion counterparts — think Gucci, Chanel, Calvin Klein. Rather than using loud logos and extensive homages to its designers, Maison Margiela has always and continues to incorporate its founders’ initials, found stamped in small lettering. The four white stitches only add to the anonymity of the designer, yet most importantly, enables the clothing to be identified with the wearer rather than the label. Even when Martin Margiela appointed John Galliano to takeover as creative director in 2013, the brand still continues to uphold its branding consistency. In addition to that, Galliano took to wearing the white lab coat at the debut show of his first collection with the label.
A list of numbers can be found printed on the reverse side of the label found on the clothing. The numbers are representative of Margiela’s 24 collections, which consist a range of menswear, womenswear and accessories. oki-ni reveals how each item of clothing is prefaced by its collection number; this is indicated by the circled number on the label.
The Artisanal Couture (0)
Women Ready To Wear (1)
Women Replica (4)
Women Diffusion Line / MM6 (6)
Men Ready To Wear (10)
Fine Jewelry (12)
Objects and Publications (13)
Men Replica (14)