Martin Margiela

Casey Mackenzie Johnson

Designer Biography

DOI: 10.5040/9781474260428-FPA249

Martin Margiela was born in Limbourg, Belgium, in 1959. He was schooled at the Antwerp Royal Academy and assisted Jean Paul Gaultier from 1984 to 1987. In 1987 Margiela founded Maison Martin Margiela (MMM) in Paris. MMM’s output is known as “meta-fashion”—that is, “clothes about clothes.” His breakthrough was his show in 1989, which the New York Times called “la mode destroy” due to the clothes being ripped and ragged. Margiela became known for his rogue take on clothing, remaking vintage pieces and copying dolls’ clothes exactly.

Margiela is an enigmatic designer; he is very rarely photographed or willing to give interviews. For many years, his only method of communication was via fax. He maintains that MMM should be about the clothes and the team behind them, and not about a singular personality.

In a seemingly unorthodox move, Margiela joined Hermès from 1997 to 2003 as their women’s wear director. The year 2000 saw the first MMM store open in Tokyo.

In 2009 Martin Margiela stepped down from Maison Martin Margiela. He was unable to find a suitable replacement, so it was announced that a team would run the design house. In 2012 the design house collaborated with H&M to bring several pieces from the MMM archive back to life. In the early twenty-first century, the design house continues under the name of Maison Margiela.

Martin Margiela, Spring/Summer 1996. Photograph by Niall McInerney, Fashion Photography Archive

References and Further Reading

Find in Library ““Fashion’s Invisible Man””. The New York Times , 1 October 2008. (accessed 26 February 2014).

Hermès.” Voguepedia, n.d. (accessed 26 February 2014).

Find in Library Jones T. , and S. Rushton , eds. Fashion Now 2 . Cologne : Taschen, 2005.

Martin Margiela.” Voguepedia, n.d. (accessed 26 February 2014).