Margiela: The Hermes Years at MoMu

Margiela: The Hermes Years

Sometimes, I wish I lived in Antwerp just so I would be able to go along to MoMu, the Antwerp Fashion Museum

Antwerp has a unique fashion story to tell. It has one of the oldest academies in the world, providing one of the most renowned fashion degrees in the world. Many alumni of the Fashion Department of the Antwerp Royal Academy for Fine Arts are high-flyers in the international fashion scene. And the Antwerp fashion museum MoMu attracts fashion enthusiasts from home and abroad.

Next year, from 31 March 2017 to 27 August 2017, MoMu is displaying Belgian stylist Martin Margiela’s Hermès collections from 1997 to 2003 for the first time. From the blurb on MoMu’s site:

… the tribute exhibition also explores the relationship during these years between these collections and his own label, Maison Martin Margiela. Groundbreaking deconstruction and timeless luxury – the two worlds of designer Martin Margiela – are the starting point of the exhibition ‘‘Margiela – The Hermès Years’’.

… in October 1997, the founder of Maison Martin Margiela had already been known for almost a decade as one of the most influential avant-garde designers. His predilection for the deconstruction, recycling and recovery of materials was unheard of in the fashion world of that era. His conceptual approach to the presentation, sales and communication of his collections has changed the way we think about fashion and its underlying mechanisms, as well as our opinions on craftsmanship, commerce, authorship and innovation…

From 1997 to 2003, Margiela instilled his exhaustive and consistent vision of modern-day luxury into twelve consecutive Hermès collections. His sleek designs for the Hermès woman were all about comfort, timelessness and tactility, values that he shared with the house and that defined his vision of the Hermès woman associated with an understated style. The image he presented for Hermès surprised the press because of its unexpected direction. His sober and monochrome colour palette diverged from the typical brightly-coloured Hermès prints. Assisted by the outstanding craftsmanship of the Hermès studios, Margiela was able to distil his design and tailoring into sheer perfection, supported by extensive material research that not only enhanced the comfort of the wearer, but also introduced numerous innovations.

Margiela’s work for Hermès continues to influence the work of many contemporary designers. During Paris Fashion Week for autumn-winter 2016-2017, the international press described Martin Margiela – who retreated from the fashion world more than eight years ago – as the “true protagonist” of fashion week. High time to showcase some of his masterpieces with “Margiela – The Hermès Years” at MoMu.

I would love to see this exhibition but, sadly, do not think travelling to Antwerp is on my agenda for next year. Maybe, one of the London museums will be interested in picking it up – I can only hope. Meantime, I shall read the reviews when it opens and pine for what might have been.

Margiela: The Hermes Years at MoMu from 31 March to 17 October 2017.

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