Notes on fashion, style and culture

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Maison Margiela for H&M revealed

Maison Martin Margiela’s complete collection for H&M has been revealed, and the clothing and accessories are consistent with the avant-garde fashion house’s distinctive style.

A spokesperson for the house said that the clothing would mainly be reissued items from the Margiela archives, and these garments would embody the classic large silhouettes, deconstructed styling, and incorporation of found items the house became renowned for. While prices for original Margiela pieces can cost several thousands of pounds, prices for this collection will run from £20 to a few hundred pounds.

When it was first announced that Maison Martin Margiela was intending to work with H&M, the response was enthusiastic and considered as something of a coup. Karl Lagerfeld, Donatella Versace, Marni as well as Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons have all worked with H&M recently, but Martin Margiela, who founded the label in 1988, is renowned as the most elusive personality in fashion. He is notorious in fashion circles for never having agreed to an interview or even to be photographed throughout his career.

What we know for certain about the mysterious Martin Margiela is that he graduated from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts before going on to work as a design assistant at Jean-Paul Gaultier between 1984 and 1987. Perhaps as a reaction to Gaultier’s flamboyant personality and openness with the media, Margiela preferred to focus instead on the clothes. And it is with the clothes that his considerable reputation rests. From the faultless, sharp-shouldered jacket to sequinned dresses; from wide-legged trousers to the celebrated circular-heeled tabi shoes, Margiela’s work became the fashion world’s best kept secret.

Since the original H&M partnership with Karl Lagerfeld in 2004, the launch of each capsule designer range has become a major event on the fashion calendar. For a brand such as Margiela, with a loyal but cutting-edge clientele, it’s clearly an opportunity to reach a mainstream audience, while for the H&M shopper, these ranges have become collector’s items with a high resale value on eBay.

Margiela retired from his label in 2009, since when his collections have been designed by a select team who have remained true to his signature. For the partnership with H&M some of the house’s most unique fashion statements have been reborn. Aimed at both men and women, garments and accessories have been labelled and identified with the season for which they were originally designed.

It’s a summary of the Margiela archive, but overhauled for the H&M customer. From black bras on flesh-coloured bodies and invisible wedge boots to supersized clothing such as pea coats and large bleached-denim jeans.

Also included are duvet coats, a car-seat-cover dress and clothing made from belts. The collection, which launches on 15 November, will be stocked in H&M stores worldwide and will also be available online.

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