So I am embarrassed to admit, I was not very well informed on MMM, and something was missing from my life, namely an intellectual fashion designer. Who made statements, and concepts, not just amazing clothes. Then I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Maison Martin Margiela '20' exhibition, which is being put on in honour of the designer who, after 20 years of working for the company, is stepping down.
So, to overview the brand, it is based around the concept of anonymity. When the label began, in the late 80s, there was a trend for the fashion designers themselves becoming 'celebrities' in their own right. Martin Margiela didn't want the focus on him, just on his clothes, so decided to remain completely anonymous, never giving interviews, having his photograph taken or appearing in the press at all.
"The only thing we wish to push to the fore-front is our fashion"
So he extended this concept of anonymity to his designs. Although there are many aspects to his collections I could explore, the one I found most fascinating was how he liked everything to be white. Imagine snow as a metaphor for this. When a landscape is covered in a blanket of white snow, no one knows what is underneath; it could be a concrete road or lush grass. So he decided to cover everything in white to conceal its true identity, making it a neutral canvas. He painted all his stores white, he covered chairs in white fabric, and he painted his clothes.
When the garment is actually worn, the paint will slowly start to crack, ultimately making the colour and texture of the original item visible once again. *
Then, as it is worn, each garment changes uniquely to suit its wearer.
I love this idea! I've been so inspired by this exhibition and have decided to create some garment with Maison Martin in mind. I love the idea of all these things having happened underneath the layer of white but no one knows until the white starts to chip away, and more is revealed.
So I have decided to turn some reconstituted denim garments (I'm thinking denim shorts, jacket, and maybe a third one) into some homages to MMM. I am planning on performing numerous processes to the garments, then painting over the top, and the processes will be revealed as it is worn.
Processes I am planning at the moment:
- Reshaping (such as making shorts shorter)
- Stitching (to add texture and detail)
This paragraph taken from leaflet which accompanied exhibition, curated by Claire Catterall