The past is what binds us, the future leads us
When you google ‘Margiela lines’ you usually end up looking at this image. While a useful reminder, it is not very descriptive. Below is an extract of the Glossary placed towards the end of Maison Martin Margiela which gives more information. Keep in mind this was published in 2008.
Garments, fabrics and accessories reworked by hand – hence the label “Artisanal” – for both women and men. Since 1988, Maison Martin Margiela has used found garments, accessories and other second-hand items– or at times new ones – skillfully transforming these raw materials into entirely new creations. Each piece is made or reworked entirely by hand in Maison Martin Margiela’s in-house atelier in Paris. The time needed to make each item varies from 5 to 6 days. Each item is completely unique and produced in very small quantities. The label, numbered ‘0’, is sewn, embossed or stamped according to the material or composition of the garment. This line is presented during the haute couture collections in Paris twice a year.
completely white label
The original and primary collection of women’s ready-to-wear by Maison Margin Margiela debuted for the SS 1989. This collection has traditionally of the Maison’s fashion shows and exhibitions. Whereas all the other Maison Martin Margiela lines have label on which the numbers ‘0’ to ‘23’ are printed, this collection still carries an entirely blank white, with the four white stitches holding it in in place visible on the exterior of unlined garments. Originally, the white label was used for Line 1, which has become an independent line since 2008.
Maison Martin Margiela began it’s collection for women for SS 1989. ‘1’ is the collection in which Maison Martin Margiela expresses its love for concept, design and process, for creativity and avant-garde. It is through this collection that the house has insistently questioned accepted ideas about fashion, presenting its restatements through acts of deconstruction and transformation. As of AW 2008-09, this label will have the ‘1’ encircled.
‘4’ is Maison Martin Margiela’s vision of a wardrobe for women. The fourth label of women’s clothes; it was first introduced for SS 2004 and compliments line 1. The garments of ‘4’ evoke timelessness. Its foundation is that of a personal approach to dress, fixed on a taste rather than on a seasonal approach to design, or a particular age group. Extra care and craft have been attributed to construction, fit, choice of fabrics, hand-finishing and to the perfection of the interior and exterior detailing of all its garments.
Another complimentary vision of Maison Martin Margiela’s take on femininity: usually – thought not always – less conceptual, these garments draw their inspiration from and lend themselves to the more casual moments of life, often with a humoristic twist. MM6 combines garments, shoes and accessories.
‘8’ was first introduced for the SS 2008 collection with its first model, “incognito”: a lateral stribe crosses the face and nose, becoming one lens for both eyes. This model will be followed by various iterations each season.
‘10’ is the men’s version of Line 1. It was first introduced in October 1998 for SS 1999.
‘14’ is the men’s version of line 10. It was first introduced in July 2004 for SS 2005.
‘11’ encompasses the traditional categories of items for an accessories collection: bags, belts, small leather goods and a few items of jewellery.
This collection is the result of the creative collaboration between Maison Martin Margiela and the Damiani Group. IT combines traditional craftsmanship and innovative technology, using precious metals and stones.
Ever since the design of the first Maison Martin Margiela “Tabi-boot” for hte SS 1989 collection, the Maison has had a small seasonal selection of women’s and men’s shoes as part of Line 1 and 10. AW 2005-06 was the first time the shoes, for men and women, were all grouped within one collection, with its own structure and development plan. The Maison established a “laboratory” for the craft of shoe making, and takes pride in having the shoes manufactured in the smallest ateliers across Italy. With each design, Maison Martin Margiela approaches an atelier – often specialists in bespoke items – that could best realise that particular type of shoe.
‘13’ includes “white objects” (feather pen, bottle-lamp), household effects in dominant white tones (carpets, wallpapers) books (Street, 2000-1) and special projects.
Maison Martin Margiela had always invested in olfactory effects; patchouli essence has been used incense in its stores and offices sice the inception of the company.
A capsule collection, part of Line 14, that can easily be identified by the curved dart that is used on the front of coats and suits, or by the gold lining embroided with “Maison Martin Margiela”. The “Sartorial” collection uses the traditional savoire-faire and techniques of tailors in Naples and Savile Row. THe internal structure of coats and jackets is made of horsehair stitched by hand, prividing an impeccable fit and posture, and longer preservation.
Each season, lines 4 and 14 contain a group of “Replica” items. Thes are existing garments, accessories and other articles that Maison Martin Margiela cherishes, and as such prefers that they remain exactly as they were found. They are then lavishly reproduced and carry a second label explaining their origin, function and period. The role of Maison Martin Margiela as designer sis to ensure tha the choice of fabric and the construction of these articles resemble the original as closely as possible.
Our fashion was probably intellectual sometimes and we hope it was always intelligent. If some designers’ will is to be labelled intellectual it’s probably to give their work a more ‘respectable’ aspect, to bring it closer to art and as far as possible from its original purpose, that is to put clothes on people’s bodies. Like a lot of things, when you try too hard, then it’s definitely ‘out of it’ and you have missed what you were aiming at. A dress that tries too hard to be intellectual and/or intelligent will automatically become ridiculous.
Maison Martin Margiela, quoted in The birth, death, and re-birth of conceptual fashion by Susanah Frankel, Maison Martin Margiela