Monday, 23 August 2010

Maison Martin Margiela at Somerset House

Image by Re-Design for Life.

Finally I made it to Somerset House to see the Maison Martin Margiela exhibition.  I followed the  iconic Tabi footprints, which led me into a bright white space. Here, I found a Maison Martin Margiela group portrait, cut from white Styrofoam  Margiela wanting to maintain his anonymity is not included in the portrait. A white board explained the familar numbers that became the respected (non) label for Margiela's collections.

In the following space a huge screen presented the Maison's 20th anniversary show. Two decades of influential fashion concepts and key pieces were re-visited before me on film.  I was captivated.  Tearing myself away, I walked up to a canvas trompe l"oeil printed curtain, which gave the illusion of a large empty room.  Once through the curtain, I entered a white-washed room showing concepts and garments from 20 year's of Margiela collections.

One of which was the 1996 Spring-Summer Trompe L'Oeil collection in which simple garment shapes were cut in soft, fluid fabrics.  Each piece is then printed with a photograph of another completely different garment.  A cardigan, for example, is printed with a safari jacket.  A dress with a photographic print of the inside of a 1960's cocktail dress.  A 'chesterfield' sofa effect is printed onto a leather jacket.  The colour palette - reminiscent of old photographs -  is kept to black, white, sepia and brown tints.

Other concepts included a dress with it's hemline lifted and stitched to one shoulder revealing a slip dress made from vintage lace slips.  A satin halter dress with it's skirt made from two different skirts, one stitched onto the other.  A second-hand man's suit jacket, painted over with silver paint.  Blouses and jackets with their sleeves repositioned to the front.  A sleeveless woollen top with visible, frayed lining at the neck, armholes and seams.  A dress made from lining fabric with visible darts on the outside.  A jacket made from a man's jacket sleeves.  Another jacket made with the sleeves switched and sewn back to front, so that the jacket can be worn with the fastening at the back.  A patchwork vest made from stitched interfacings.  A halter neck top made from second hand gloves...

Oh!  How I have been inspired by Maison Martin Margiela over the years.  The master of de-construction - reinterpreting how a garment should be worn by taking it apart and recreating every piece with skillfully crafted precision.