Martin Margiela could easily be labeled a “designer’s designer” thanks to his brilliant legacy of deconstructing not just the form of fashion, but the concept of it as well. He had a knack for drawing out eyes to the way clothes work, and the aspects of them we don’t know we love. A perfect example of this was the time he made his own interpretation of Chanel’s iconic little black jacket.
In 2009, Carine asked Margiela to participate in a tribute to the storied French house. Not wanting to limit his creativity, she gave him as little direction as possible. “I gave him total freedom, so I didn’t know exactly what form that would take,” she remembers. “I knew it would be genius. I couldn’t have guessed that it would be extra-extra-extra large!”
But that extra-extra-extra large factor is exactly what makes it so genius. Through size, Margiela not only kept many hallmarks of the Chanel mainstay, but deliberately drew attention to them through enlargement. Utilizing a large-gauge knit, he was able to comment on the texture of usually more subtle tweed. The oversized trim—rendered in cream, a nod to Coco Chanel’s minimalist color palate—highlights an important aspect of the garment that is not usually a focal point. It even maintains a similar woven patter to the original.
The final touch is a leather Camellia flower (an icon of the house) cut in a floppy, flatter manner. It’s this element that most resembles the DIY-aesthetic that launched Margiela’s career, as well as giving the whole piece a charming “by hand” feel, which ultimately is an interesting thing to consider when reflecting on his tribute. Chanel’s haute couture is famously made by hand, but then again, so are homemade pieces. Margiela’s work here elegantly explores our notions of luxury, craft, precision, and style.
“I loved Martin’s jacket at first sight,” Carine gushes. She’s not alone in the love—the piece is currently on display in Paris at the Palais Galliera. The exhibit, Margiela/Galliera, 1989-2009, is a retrospective of the designer’s career, and drew a rather prestigious fashion crowd when it opened during Paris Fashion Week earlier this month.
One tidbit not included in the exhibit, however, was just how far back Margiela’s friendship with Carine goes. In fact, one could consider his participation in her tribute a returned favor for when she walked in one of his shows. But that’s a story for another day.END
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createdAt:Tue, 27 Mar 2018 17:11:18 +0000