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Bye Bye Margiela

SoCal2NYC

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Sorry I should have post this a few days ago when I first heard:


September 28, 2008, 8:29 pm
Martin Margiela to Exit Margiela?

By Eric Wilson

The big rumor floating around the Paris shows this week is that Martin Margiela, the influential and enigmatic designer, is preparing his final disappearing act. Over the last year, Mr. Margiela, known as fashion's "Invisible Man" because he never gives interviews and has rarely been photographed, has told colleagues that he wants to stop designing and that he has begun a search for his successor at the house.

In one move that has set off intense speculation about the company's future, Mr. Margiela, who is 51, initiated a meeting here early this year with Raf Simons, another well-regarded Belgian designer who was renegotiating his contract with Jil Sander at the time. According to executives associated with each designer, who requested anonymity out of respect for Mr. Margiela's wishes to remain private about his plans, Mr. Simons had discussed the possibility of replacing Mr. Margiela, but nothing came of that conversation.

Ultimately, Mr. Simons renewed his contract to remain at Jil Sander for an additional three years.

"Helmut (Lang) and Martin have had a big impact on me, but beyond that I cannot tell you anything," said Mr. Simons, who declined to comment when asked about his conversation at a fashion show on Sunday.

The rumors about Mr. Margiela's desire to leave fashion reached a fever pitch at the shows over the weekend as the Maison Martin Margiela prepared for its spring runway show on Monday night, which will mark the 20th anniversary of the house. Suzy Menkes, reporting in Monday's International Herald Tribune, writes that two designers have been in talks with Renzo Rosso, the chief executive of Diesel Group, which bought Mr. Margiela's business in 2002. She did not identify the designers and it was not clear whether Mr. Simons was one of those.

But she includes an intriguing comment from Mr. Rosso, who said, "We are very happy with Martin but for a long time he has a strong team and does not work on the collection, just special projects."

If Mr. Margiela truly has not been involved in the recent collections, an assertion that appears to be debatable, it would prove his longstanding point - and the reason he has maintained his silence - that the clothes are greater than the creator.
 

mulansauce

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"Throughout his career, Martin Margiela has maintained an extremely low profile. He has never had his picture taken..."

This can't be true. No pictures? Ever?
 

Fade to Black

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yeah nobody actually knows what he looks like

a few weeks ago i was at a club, spoke with the bouncer who came from Antwerp...says he is well acquainted with Martin himself. Apparently he's a short bald dude.
 

SoCal2NYC

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Originally Posted by mulansauce
"Throughout his career, Martin Margiela has maintained an extremely low profile. He has never had his picture taken..."

This can't be true. No pictures? Ever?


In today's day and age it is impossible. There are some pictures of him from like the 80s before the whole "Invisible Man" schtick and even then a few pop out here and there of him on the street/candid.
 

rach2jlc

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Interesting article, J, thanks for posting. I've become less and less interested in MMM over recent years, for whatever reason... so while it's too bad to see another great designer leaving his/her namesake label, personally I don't think it will affect me or my buying much (or not nearly as much as Jil and Helmut leaving did). I dunno... anyway, best of luck to him if he leaves. Maybe the above mentioned three should all join together and make a new brand called "Egos"...
 

mulansauce

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I have read descriptions of him (tall, slim, square-jawed, gray ponytail, always in a cap), but never thought about the fact that I had never seen a photo until I read that. Asking the internet for a photo didn't yield any quick results. Maybe I'll post a request on 4chan for an image, but then I would actually have to visit 4chan.

This is the best I could do, although you can barely see him and there are doubts that it is him: http://flickr.com/photos/chuvaness/290667547/
 

Brian SD

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Fashion's Stanley Donwood. Who knows if he even exists? What if "Martin" is actually a codename for an illuminati-like boardroom where people scheme on how to remove stitches from Chuck Taylors then re-sell them for $350, tapping their fingertips together and chanting "eeeexcellent."
 

Fade to Black

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^^^

good point.

i don't have much interest in checking out Margiela clothes any more either, to be very honest...
 

rach2jlc

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Originally Posted by Brian SD
Fashion's Stanley Donwood. Who knows if he even exists? What if "Martin" is actually a codename for an illuminati-like boardroom where people scheme on how to remove stitches from Chuck Taylors then re-sell them for $350, tapping their fingertips together and chanting "eeeexcellent."

Certainly possible... but I think of him more, instead, as fashion's Thomas Pynchon... a brilliant talent, but probably not a particularly interesting/charismatic/attractive PERSONAL figure.

I remember reading an article by a guy who went searching for Pynchon and was rather disappointed to find out, not only that he DOES exist, but that he's a pretty boring, unattractive, aging man who lives in NYC with his wife.

That "enigma" angle cuts both ways... it can be a good disguise for drumming up cache and interest, but it can also cause major disappointment if you ever decide to stop doing it or if the boring truth comes out.
 

mulansauce

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Pynchon has been on the Simpsons and people have actually seen his driver's license. I've never read of a person who has actually been certain they met Margiela.
 

erdawe

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So any takers on what this means in the future...

Downward quality? Bland designs?
 

rach2jlc

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Originally Posted by erdawe
So any takers on what this means in the future... Downward quality? Bland designs?
Probably neither. Quality/originality seems to be down slightly after Diesel bought the brand a few years back, but it isn't bad by any means in either direction. As such, it will probably continue to do just fine as the brand has grown and grown with the design team and Diesel ownership (I think I read that they are close to doing $100m a year in sales).
 

erdawe

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That's good to know, I have a really hard time keeping up with ownership of labels... I usually just focus on wether I like the quality and design of the product at the time of purchase. Overall I've been happy with my handful of MMM purchases (seasons in the last 2-3 years).
 

Oldboy

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Hopefully MMM doesn't go downhill à la Helmut Lang. Margiela trousers are one of the first things I look for come sales time. That leather biker jacket he does every season is grail status.
 

rach2jlc

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^Again, I'd say you have little to nothing to worry about. For most buyers, I'd say the majority of their MMM pieces have been while under Diesel ownership, so I don't see much changing.

Lang is a completely different story, because 1) like Jil, he personally had a lot more impact on the "image" of the brand (which Margiela himself does not) and so leaving hurt that image and 2)his label was sold to a company that planned to reposition it in a different market with different production, styling, silhouette, etc. It's now "helmut lang" ONLY in name.
 

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