Fashion legend Martin Margiela to make comeback as artist

After 12 years out of the general public eye, the reclusive clothier Martin Margiela has introduced his comeback – as an artist.

The Belgian, who retired from style design in 2009, is to exhibit on the Lafayette Anticipations gallery in Paris.

The exhibition, merely known as Martin Margiela, will open on 15 April and have a set of his sculptures, images and installations, all beforehand unseen in public.

“This exhibition celebrates the idea that Martin Margiela has always been an artist, whose work has played out since, within and outside the art world,” the gallery mentioned in an announcement. “[He] has always made us look at things with fresh eyes. Going against the grain he cultivated an obsession for discreet people, abandoned objects and forgotten places and events, bestowing on them a new dignity.”

A mannequin wears a creation from Maison Martin Margiela’s autumn/winter 2008 assortment. Photograph: Horacio Villalobos/EPA

Margiela graduated from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1979 and labored for Jean Paul Gaultier between 1984 and 1987 earlier than launching his Maison Martin Margiela style firm (now identified as Maison Margiela).

The trademark Margiela designs had been postmodern and anti-fashion. He would take aside beforehand worn garments and put them again collectively once more by way of strategies such as bleaching and slashing. He would depart uncovered threads and linings in his designs, underlining the function of the atelier within the manufacturing course of. His trademark merchandise, the “wig jacket”, was a high-fashion instance of this kind of revolutionary DIY deconstructionism: a rendering of a fur jacket finished with brown acrylic hair that took 51 hours to sew collectively.

“He invented conceptual fine art fashion,” mentioned Prof Angela McRobbie of the University of London, who added that his affect could possibly be seen at the moment in designers together with Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia and Hussein Chalayan.

Margiela himself was an enigma. Running his label in sharp distinction to the big-name designers of the time who traded on their model identify and picture, he insisted that no images had been taken of him, interviews weren’t carried out face to face and he did no end-of-catwalk-show bows. In 2011, he instructed the Independent, by way of fax, “we prefer to focus on the clothes and not all that is put around them in the media”.

His flagship retailer in Brussels was painted solely white and certainly one of his emblems was an nameless white label stitched into his garments. “He refused the lure of superstardom, remaining largely invisible,” McRobbie mentioned.

Maison Martin Margiela’s spring/summer 2006 show in Paris in 2005
Maison Martin Margiela’s spring/summer time 2006 present in Paris in 2005. The designer stop the label in 2009. Photograph: Pierre Verdy/AFP/Getty Images

After 41 runway reveals between 1989 and 2009 he introduced his retirement. “He was sick of the system of having to do so many collections a year,” Reiner Holzemer, the director of the documentary Martin Margiela: In His Own Words, instructed the Guardian final yr. “After he left, he suffered physically and it took him a year to recover from the stress.” Holzemer mentioned the designer put it into his contract that he would by no means be seen on digicam.

“That he has managed to keep working in the way he has is testimony to his anti-commercial ethos and to his vision as an artist,” mentioned McRobbie.

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