Martin Margiela

by Tanya Gill
In·cog·ni·tus is the new black.

I sense a change in the air. A streamlined purity that cuts through the hype to find the “real deal”, whether it be a person or an object of desire, it is a pursuit for what has true meaning for you. 

It was not a studied process to choose Martin Margiela for my first Icon. Yes, it is the 25 year anniversary and so I believe we must call to mind his revolutionary vision that turned the fashion institution on its head, whilst influencing many designers and giving a “code” status to many loyal, global fans. But the roar of this fast-paced, show-me-all-you’ve-got, right now, pumped up world is a complete 360° to the defining blueprint Margiela set out for his company, done so in a visionary, consciousness that only strengthens the conviction of the work.

As it happens, serendipity played its role in the early stages of my career. It was sometime around midnight at a jazz bar in Paris, when I found myself sitting on a bar stool next to Martin Margiela, who was then an assistant at the atelier of Jean Paul Gaultier. The importance of that moment was absolute. Not only had I studied the genius of JPG during my years at fashion school and had invitations put into my eager little hands at the show barriers by kind editors, but I had of course dreamed of working for my fashion idol.

One hand-written, burnt-edged scroll resume later and Martin’s offer to help me get an interview with Gaultier himself resulted in an experience not only of immersive French culture, but the opportunity to be privy to every detail of a master at the height of his craft. This was the time when Martin was just planning his own line in a new direction, away from the fold. A year or so later I went to his show on a building site. It was shockingly new with what would become his signature reworking technique that none of the fashion crowd had yet seen. One has to remember the Berlin wall had just come down and the extravagance of the 80’s was literally crumbling before our eyes. At a press day at his atelier I wished to reconnect to thank and congratulate him but I was met with a sea of white coats and could never find him again. 

Thank you Martin, for questioning the status quo and happy 25 years to Maison Martin Margiela. 

-Tanya Gill

All Images Courtesy of Martin Margiela