Martin Margiela, the renowned Belgian fashion designer, is widely considered to be a conceptual fashion artist. Margiela''s work has many dimensions and embraces several concepts.
In terms of raw materials, he works with new fabrics as well as vintage garments and garments collected from flea markets. Recycled materials also feature strongly in his work, re-cycled knitwear and t-shirts for example.
Deconstruction is his hallmark. In creating his pieces, he first takes them apart, only to subsequently reassemble them to create unique items with exquisite cuts. His clothes are characterized by visible stitching, are likely to feature slices instead of slits, unfinished and sometimes reversed seams, exposed multi-coloured linings and permanent creases.
He is also widely associated with the concept of distressing. Over the last 30 years, the art of distressing has been embraced by many of the world's top avant garde designers. Distressing is all about achieving that time-worn look - the idea of being very dressed down - the art of trainers not looking too white or jackets not looking brand new....
His personality - or rather what little we know of it - is also a big part of Margiela concept. Notoriously reclusive, Martin Margiela cultivates his anonymity and refuses to be photographed. He will only be interviewed by fax and uses blank white labels to identify his creations, it is said as a protest against the 'fashion world'.
Martin Margiela was born in Limbourg, Belgium in 1959 and studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Contrary to popular belief, Margiela is not officially one of the Antwerp Six.
Although he was briefly associated with the group of six, Marina Yee stepped in to take his place. In 1984, he began working with Jean Paul Gaultier, before setting up his own fashion house 'Maison Martin Margiela' in Paris in 1988. His first womenswear collection followed shortly thereafter. Other landmarks include his appointment as head designer of Hermes womenswear in 1997.
The extensive current Martin Margiela collection is available at Van Ravenstein Designer boutique, Nine Streets, Amsterdam.