Artisanal Collection by Maison Martin Margiela

Photo courtesy of Lea Colombo

Artisanal Collection by Maison Martin Margiela

If fashion is alchemy of a kind, Maison Martin Margiela’s Artisanal initiative is one of its most explicit expressions. Pieces from other times and places are restored, reworked, sometimes remade. Their provenance and the amount of man hours spent transforming them are meticulously detailed.

Photo courtesy of Lea Colombo

The alchemists wanted to turn lead to gold. If the Margiela source material today was scarcely lead – sequined costumes from the Beijing Opera in the 1930s were striking in their own right, as were two embroidered Art Nouveau curtains in silk tulle – it was gilded by the transformation.

Photo courtesy of Lea Colombo

The models walked with heads encased in masks. They were unique to each outfit, which meant they were masks that eerily revealed as well as concealed. One looked like Leigh Bowery’s inked egghead. Another was an abstract duplication of a bust of Chopin in cabochons of white, black, and green marble. They were paired with vintage jeans rolled up over platform boots with Swarovski crystal spurs, one facet of a new design alliance called Crystalactite.

Photo courtesy of Lea Colombo

Fundamental transformation is clearly Artisanal’s philosophical key. Here, it was presented so graphically that there could almost be a political point to it. Even the most basic outfit radically remodeled a white T-shirt and blue jeans in latex.

more. www.maisonmartinmargiela.com

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