Monday, June 30, 2014

BEAUTY: Clothing--Maison Martin Margiela

Have we talked about Maison Martin Margiela before? In the world of fashion, MMM is an oddity, and that's saying a lot. The house's namesake designer is notoriously reclusive (only a handful of photos of him actually exist) and actually left the company many years ago. Since then, the creative control has remained anonymous. What is known is that collections are created by a team of designers, again very mysterious: names are not known and faces are not seen. Much like the Oompa-Loompas in charge of the day to day workings of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, Maison Martin Margiela "workers" ("representatives?" or are they actually the "designers?--no one knows) will helm, chaperone, or otherwise direct press conferences, dispensing impersonal information about the collections and how they were created. And something the house has always been about is a sense of deconstruction (check out their hybridized, subtly Frankenstein-ish Spring Summer '14 collection here), of recycling/upcycling (see their Monoprix trash bag winter coats in this post about several collection from Fall-Winter '12-'13), and of using unexpected materials for clothing in unexpected ways. Generally the MMM collection is about pure experimentation with many pieces never even making it to production. Often other more accessible pieces make their way to retail, but it is the strange, stone-faced, anonymous art studio nature of the house that draws people in.

True to form, their Spring Summer '15 collection at Paris Fashion Week was expectedly unexpected. The hybridization here is much more obvious with halves of business and casual wear sewn together in a sort of schizophrenic Jekyll and Hyde statement. The lab--er, house--used nylons, particularly parachute material (one coat was made from a real vintage parachute) for pants, coats, jackets. At the end of the collection, a series of flesh colored clingy long sleeved nylon tops came out. The sequined and beaded colorful designs (which look as if they are hybrids of vintage advertising crossed with Soviet propaganda material) are chopped up and banded into nearly abstract stripes of color. The look is quite disorienting; it forced me to do a double take and study what was going on to understand it.

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