Earlier this month it was confirmed that Martin Margiela, the notoriously elusive avant-garde designer behind the Maison Martin Margiela fashion house, was no longer involved in the design process of his eponymous label.
Rumors swirled for months that the house’s collections had lacked the intangible quality that Margiela injected into all of his work. Everything from the lighting to the casting to the collection had shifted – becoming a somewhat forced interpretation of the designer’s signature aesthetic. The Spring/Summer 2010 collection shown this past month in Paris was a testament to the fact that large changes are necessary. Devoid of fresh inspiration and filled with forced conceptualization, this past collection was perhaps the weakest the fashion house has shown in the past two decades.
Renzo Rosso, the house’s majority stakeholder 9also the brains behind the Diesel denim fortune) announced recently that Martin Margiela himself had moved on from the house. "Martin has not been there for a long time," Russo told WGSN. "He is here but not here. We have a new fresh design team on board. We are focusing on young, realistic energy for the future; this is really Margiela for the year 2015.”
The 20th Anniversary collection shown last year was rumored to be the designer’s retirement collection and it seems as though critics were correct.
With poor showings afoot and the post-recession era only beginning to come about, the future of Maison is unclear. Conceptual fashion is going the way of haute couture. It is for a very select group of people willing to invest in fashion as art. More commonly, the public is investing in more wearable, sustainable and literal fashion.
Both Haider Ackermann and Raf Simons were offered the position of head designer last year when Margiela is rumored to have left, but both turned it down, opting to stay at their current positions designing more saleable and wearable collections – an entirely logical decision seeing as anonymity is a contractual obligation, and future creative directors of Maison must work under Margiela’s name. This, plus the fact that it seems improbable that the collection will sell well, probes the questions of whether or not there is space in today’s fashion community for Maison Martin Margiela.