Monday, January 11, 2010

Yikes! Gone but NEVER forgotten.

I've been mourning the loss of Martin Margiela for a long time and have been trying to articulate what's so wrong about the stuff that's been coming out of the place that bears his name. The revolutionary thing about Margiela was that he treated the conditions involved in creating the illusion of fashion as fashion. He put the stitches and seams and handiwork on the outside and made dresses out of lining lined with dress fabric. It's plausible to say his non-labels were designed to bring attention to the clothes versus the personality of their creator. And tho that label has very much come to stand for Margiela, he managed to keep evolving beyond expectations and showing up convention. That was what was so awesome about each new show. Even if I didn't adore everything (which I often did) at least I could count on having my brain being stimulated. And while fast-fashion chains churned out raw-edges and exposed zippers he managed to come up with more mundane taken-for-granted stuff for us to reconsider fashion convention with.

Maybe there are no more conventions to play with and critique anymore or maybe the conventions/ conditions which made the critique possible no longer exist. Maybe everything (including "rebellion") is a convention and rebellion or reaction or reconsideration or otherness or whatever isn't possible. Looking at what's coming out of MMM lately it would seem as much. Margiela approached each collection as part of an ongoing conversation. He worked particular themes/motifs through multiple seasons so that as a viewer it felt like an ongoing conversation or story framed and sustained by the clarity of its initial proposition. The last few shows were such dreary affairs, I think, because there wasn't that sense of inquiry or inquisitiveness. There didn't seem to be an idea or a story or that feeling of being engaged as an audience. The only thing I can compare it too is like turning on the radio to the Martin Margiela program and, at best, getting the top 10 hits over and over or just getting static.

So, will it ever be possible to carry on in the tradition of MM? Is anyone going to be able to do what he did? Is deconstruction fashion done? Maybe so. Meantime, collect all of the true Martin Margiela you can get your hands on. Remember the mark he made and how talented and important his work is in the history of fashion. And, if you are truly interested in rebellion and fashioning rebellion or whatever, follow the lead of the girl below who literally and eternally branded Margiela's label on her skin. Yikes.

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