i think it was also probably diesel that got the margiela basics into barney's co-op. as much as $3000 leathers are cool, i have a suspicion that the backbone of the brands profitability is on $300 sweatshirts and button downs.
These were in Barney's Co-ops from the get go. I suspect that Diesel's main contribution was its expertise in marketing. Earlier than 2002, I remember that there was reams of Margiela lingering on the Barney's outlet racks. By 2002, there was a lot more press, and the Margiela collection was at the top of the stairs of the 3rd floor of the Beverly Hills Barneys - taking up pretty valuable real estate. The value of good PR should never be underestimated. There is a reason we hear about Julius, but little about say, ato or s'exprimer, which are often sold alongside Julius in Japan.