Love Aesthetics

July 24, 2013

Finding the relevance of couture at Maison Martin Margiela



Haute Couture always felt like something very distant to me. Something that I’d only occasionally see presented on a dead plastic mannequin in a fashion exposition at a museum. Something that’s only made for a small elite club from another era. Something that’s so exclusive that it seems like it’s taking place in a parallel universe to which we will never have access to. Though the reason why I love fashion so much is because it is so close to the body that it almost becomes a part of it, an extension of yourself, something that everyone must participates in and from which there is no escape. Haute Couture felt so untouchable and far away that I always regarded it more as art than as fashion. Basically I felt excluded and left out from it, not having a spare 10 grand to spend on a dress, not being a celebrity in need of a red carpet outfit and not having access to the intimate shows to see the garments in movement.

Attending the Maison Martin Margiela show forced me to think more about wether Haute Couture is still relevant in 2013. Yes we already know that it is about the detailing, the craftsmanship, the exclusivity, blablabla. But you never get to experience that by just seeing the collections through images, it just never comes through unless you see it in real life, in movement. I tell you, it is impressive.

I found how important Haute Couture can be for a house right now for many other reasons than selling clothes or having celebs wear garments (let’s hope that Kanye never wears a Margiela mask again, to ironically, use it for its opposite purpose: getting attention instead of being anonymous). In The case of Maison Martin Margiela, who only have had couture collections for 3 seasons, it is a way to gain more freedom. Complete conceptual freedom, the design team gets to do whatever they want without thinking about sales or wearability. It’s like going back to the core of the house. I have been told that some ideas that are too unwearable and get left out of the ready to wear lines are saved for the Couture shows. It is about showing what the maison is all about, what it is capable of, what techniques it can apply.

And as expected, Maison Martin Margiela broke all the rules of Haute Couture and send some worn down jeans down the runway. These were my favorite looks, paired with oversized collars and masks made out of large marble beads on bare skin. So simple yet so extravagant. Then there was the deconstructed and reconstructed vintage and antique garments; a 1950s prom dress, an Art Nouveau curtain and even some beadings from the Napoleon-era. Recuperating these vintage and antique pieces was such a respectful way to treat clothes, almost like an homage, making old clothes relevant again for the future. It could even be a statement from MMM connected to the relevance haute couture itself.

24 responses to “Finding the relevance of couture at Maison Martin Margiela”

  1. almondcake says:

    Looks really original.

  2. TeuntjeVDW says:

    Beautiful pics! It must be an honor to be invited! xx.

  3. Milex says:

    perfect sense of style

  4. Bri Wang says:

    Great shots! Must have been amazing to see it in person.


  5. This is weird but i love it!

  6. Coming back to basics is sways good !

    XX Luba

    Don´t miss today my look with peplum, jeans and Loubis

  7. Sarah says:

    Great report! I’m so glad you wrote about the MMM Couture show. It was truly unique and noteworthy for all the reasons you stated.

    Initially just seeing the runway shots left me a bit confused, but after learning about the concepts behind the looks I realized how brilliant they are.

    Though I would never wear any of these looks as they are, the concepts behind them are what inspire me, and I can use those ideas to create my own interpretations rather than try and “copy”. That is truly the best kind of inspiration.

    I esp. love the contrast of daywear denim mixed with one-off refashioned vintage pieces and the DIY-looking tops made from found objects. To me this show represents the approach to dressing of the modern creative – conscientious, self-made, versatile.

  8. Shelly says:

    You simplified couture like a math problem. Just loved reading this post. The way you write reflects your way of working. Simple, understandable and incredible.

  9. Shelly says:

    You simplified couture like a math problem. Just loved reading this post. The way you write reflects your way of working. Simple, understandable and incredible.

  10. Anonymous says:

    haha the bit about kanye, so true

  11. e says:

    i agree with your point about using the mask to get attention instead of remaining anonymous, but i don’t think it’s exclusive to just a celeb like kanye…ANYONE wearing that on the street would be noticed! it’s a slippery piece, both drawing attention to AND simultaneously obscuring the wearer’s identity. i think that’s why it’s such a cool piece.

    couture’s place for me, in this day and age, is more like art, and it’s reserved for those who can afford it. (there’s more affordable art ironically, but no affordable haute couture lol)

    i like how you described MMM’s approach, kind of taking some of the preciousness out of it. i’ve never been to a big runway show like that (only independent designers).

    i hope to one day experience that, and decide for myself what it’s all about 😉 x

  12. Anonymous says:

    The new Hijab?

  13. ViVa Luke says:

    crazy and awesome! 🙂

  14. hiPop says:

    I think MMM and Rad Hourani are the only ones out there pushing the boundaries of couture, instead of comfortably swimming in its another-era inspired waters….


  15. Sharon says:

    This is just brilliant writing about the MMM Haute Couture show and yes I do think it is still relevant.
    HC shows another side of the fashion industry that isn’t necessarily geared towards marketing and sales. It’s become an art that can be admired and generally to be awe at.

  16. Matice says:

    This is the first time that I’ve seen this kind of style in a clothing but it is really cool, original and has a high sense of fashion.

  17. Beautiful. I really enjoyed what you had to say as well, definitely made me look at Haute Couture in a bit different way.

  18. Ijeoma A says:

    This is brilliant! I would love to have seen this going down the catwalk I so agree with what you said about how the jeans make it simple but still so different. The October Girl

  19. sean says:

    hasn’t 0 always been their “couture” line, guided by principles of essentially reconstructing/repurposing/ressembling garments (an extremely labour intensive project)? The first show the house presented at couture week was ss 06, so I’m curious if you were told on your visit that this was their second.. is it a new line? I’m always interested in their specificities 🙂

    Truth be told while beautiful these couture collections look like more a product of Only the Brave. I can’t imagine Margiela having much interest in couture, (or the idea of total control and absolute perfection)… after the first look of latex shirt/jeans which i really enjoyed, nothing really held much interest beyond labor value which put this collection on par with what ever other coutier is doing in essence (raf included).
    TBT I can’t imagine Margiela ever inviting a blogger into HQ…………….

  20. nicole says:

    there is no such thing as “minimal, laid back” haute couture and throwing jeans on the runway was not elegant, pristine, detail oriented, or timeless as haute couture should be…

  21. Excellent article! We will be linking to this great article on our website. Keep up the good writing.

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