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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Go Forth And Collab-Create!

I will admit that my heart wept a bit after learning last year that Martin Margiela was stepping away from his namesake label.  It wasn't like a Helmut Lang or Jil Sander moment where they were kind of 'forced' to leave over creative differences and now have to watch their namesake collections designed by someone else.  Margiela chose to retire.  Was he burnt out?  Was he fed up?  Maybe both.  The fashion system houses a lot of artists but the nature of the system itself allows for business to grossly overshadow artistry at times.  Yes there are designers who will tell you that the two go hand in hand and that they are still persuaded by art and inspiration since customers must buy their creations.  However, there are few designers, in my opinion who have that innate edge to enable art to largely overtake commerce and have the public lap it up like fine wine in a punchbowl.  For me, Maison Martin Margiela has always been a label that pushed the boundaries of creativity through the medium of clothing design.  While the public has elevated it to fashion, the integrity of the label has always been about maintaining that level of creativity which I suppose because of its innovation has immediately been categorized as fashion.  Creative, artistic and forward-thinking has been the code of the house so it seems only natural that a collaboration with Opening Ceremony was in order.


The label has never needed to collaborate before, but it prizes itself on developing and going forward. In an article by honeyee the web magazine, the house states that "Our structure and our system of various lines enables to express out creativity on different levels and allows us to create the balance and coexistence between commercial and creative interests." This is key in understanding the capsule collection developed by the house for the store Opening Ceremony, a small Japanese-American chain that houses a bevy of innovative and fashion-forward brands. In going ahead, Margiela will continue to have things to express and seeing as how collaborations are proving great for promoting cult talents, a pairing with such a small renown chain seems natural.




This collection is a capsule collection in the true sense of a capsule collection. It's small in nature with interchangeable pieces. The collection is only for women this round (sorry fellas) and tells a strong story of layering. The core outerwear of the collection consists of two pieces, one faux fur knee length coat and one quilted moto jacket, that both have nylon liners underneath. However, each liner can be worn as a jacket and each style has the fabrication of its faux fur or quilted leather topper attached to it from the elbow down like gauntlets. It showcases the six different ways the coats can be worn and layered. The layering story was continued with a bright red tunic over a satiny skirt that once the top was removed, revealed how the skirt was part of a dress, how the tunic was cut in a halter style and how the sleeves of the tunic remained to become an entire blouse underneath. With this collection as always, Margiela introduced its wearers to new perspectives in dress and layering with leather stirrups that merge with boots and a snap away leather bag that affords the wearer to decide how much bag she wants to don. Peppered throughout the rest of the collection are wonderful paired down Margiela staple separates like amazingly fuzzy cable knits, color-blocked wool knit tunic/dresses, leg-warmers that can pose as trousers, zip front cardigan/vest ensembles, 'switchable' bibbed trousers and 'optical illusion' leather meets denim jean hybrids. A great story on the strength, interchangeability and versatility of layering, which is an essential and modern approach to a sellable, well thought-out capsule collection.




Innovative? Always! Must one pay attention? Yes! In the hands of Margiela, Opening Ceremony has a collection that will further offer their informed savvy consumers not just premium pieces from an iconic label, but also ideas to dress more logically and enlightened. In the hands of Opening Ceremony, Maison Martin Margiela will have a broader range of admirers; but not too broad, afterall this is creativity, not fashion.

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