Founded in Paris in 1988 by Martin Margiela and Jenny Meirens, Maison Martin Margiela debuted its avant-garde style in October 1988.

Founded: 1988
Founders: Martin Margiela, Jenny Meirens
Location: Paris, France

About Maison Martin Margiela

Born in Genk, Belgium, in 1957, Martin Margiela studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts before graduating in 1980. Studying at the same time as the famous ‘Antwerp Six’, Margiela adopted the same avant-garde style, however he was not part of the group. Between 1985 and 1987 Margiela worked in Paris for Jean-Paul Gautier, but left to pursue his own line. The theme of deconstructionism, which Margiela focused on, earned him cult status. His first collection saw jeans ripped with razor blades and dresses made from old jackets, leading many to compare his creativity to Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons. Margiela maintained a reclusive media personality as the stature of the brand grew hugely throughout the 1990’s, even refusing to come from behind the curtain at his shows. Instead Margiela continued to develop the symbolic nature of his clothes, even developing the brand’s headquarters into a complete white space in order to eliminate outside pressure. Margiela clothes continued to make a singular statement by introducing his now famous label in 1997. Consisting of a white cloth with the numbers 0-23 printed on, each number containins different meaning:

0 – Avant-garde women’s collection

0+10 – Avant-garde men’s collection

1 – Main prêt-a-porter women’s line

4 – Comfort line for women

8 – Eyewear

10 – Main prêt-a-porter men’s line

11 – Accessories

13 – Artistic objects

14 – Comfort line for men

22 – Shoes

In 1997 Margiela himself was appointed head women’s designer for Hermes, whilst his own ‘Maison’ line continued to receive critical acclaim with new ranges such as a men’s collection, added for spring/summer 1999. In 2002 the brand was subject to a takeover from the Diesel Corporation and despite maintaining its high quality rumours began to circulate that Margiela had parted company with the business. This was confirmed late in 2009 and now with a design team comprising of 16 different nationalities and stores across the world the companies president has been quoted as saying that “this is Margiela for the year 2015”. It remains to be seen whether in the long term, this new design team can do for the brand what Margiela done for his clothes, in his own words : “bringing them back to life in a different form.”