Martin Margiela to Stage an Art Exhibition in Paris Later This Year

by Christina Donoghue on 12 January 2021

Martin Margiela retired from the fashion limelight over a decade ago but is making a comeback with an art exhibition in Paris this April.

Martin Margiela retired from the fashion limelight over a decade ago but is making a comeback with an art exhibition in Paris this April.

After retiring from fashion over 11 years ago in 2009, the enigmatic Martin Margiela is about to make his comeback, not as a designer, but as an artist. The exhibition, Martin Margiela will take place at Lafayette Anticipations gallery on Rue du Plâtre in Paris April of this year and will run till July, marking three years exactly since the Margiela / Galliera, 1989-2009 retrospective took place at the Palais Galliera.

Although exact works have yet to be revealed, it has been confirmed that the show will resemble an art exhibition. It will feature never-before-seen sculptures, photographs and installations, all of which were inspired by reoccurring themes such as time, disappearance, chance, mystery and aura. These themes are hardly surprising from Margiela; he has conveyed these moods (especially mystery) ever since he rose to fame in the 90s. To this day, only one photograph of the mystic Martin Margiela repeatedly does the rounds on the internet, and that photo's authenticity has been doubted by critics.

A celebrated designer in his own right, worn by many of today's fashion-conscious youth, Margiela has always been seen as an artist through his use of deconstruction - using old garments to create new ones. For example, it's most likely that fashion folk will always think of the Sock Jumper when remembering the winter of 1991-1992. He also created the classic and instantly recognisable Tabi shoes. Fed up with the high street directly copying high fashion and brands ripping off other brands, he created the ugliest shoe he could think of so no one would want to make a copy. The Tabi shoe has seen such tumultuous success that the shoe has become symbolic of today's fashion crowd; you can immediately tell the fashion folks apart from everyone else if they're wearing the two-toe split shoe.

'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,' said the gallery in a statement. 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.'

Martin Margiela graduated from Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1979, and although often mistakenly attached to the Antwerp Six, the designer is not affiliated with the group. Margiela went on to work for French designer Jean Paul Gaultier during the glorious years of 1984-1987 before launching his own eponymous brand, Maison Martin Margiela (now simply known as Maison Margiela).

Even though Margiela has spent over a decade out of the limelight, he hasn't been entirely inactive. As well as the Margiela / Galliera, 1989-2009 retrospective in 2018, there was also the Margiela: Les années Hermès exhibition that same year at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and last year, the designer released his very own documentary.

Christina Donoghue



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