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Maison Martin Margiela ‘20’ The Exhibition

Start Date 12 September 2008
End Date 08 February 2009
Venue MoMu
Location Antwerp, Belgium
Curator Kaat Debo and Bob Verhelst
Designer Bob Verhelst
With special thanks to: Maison Martin Margiela
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins

In 1988, after graduating from the fashion department of the Antwerp Academy and working as an assistant for Jean-Paul Gaultier, Martin Margiela and Jenny Meirens established Maison Martin Margiela. Their first pioneering fashion show followed in October of that same year. Margiela’s was a radically new visual language, with a silhouette — long, with strikingly narrow shoulders — that diametrically opposed the power dressing of the 1980s. Early in his career, Margiela emphatically decided to let his fashion speak for itself and has declined public appearances. All interviews are consistently given in the name of the Maison as a whole, and no photographs of the designer are distributed – a sharp reaction against the star status that dominated the fashion scene of the 1980s and 1990s.

Martin Margiela is especially known for his deconstructivist approach and his use of second-hand materials or materials with low commercial value. His entire oeuvre is characterized by an exceptional combination of classic tailoring and conceptual thinking. Maison Martin Margiela shows the inside of an article of clothing, exposes its construction and focuses on that which fashion anxiously tries to conceal. His working method produces an analysis of the system that underlies fashion and is followed through in the many varied aspects of his fashion house.

“Maison Martin Margiela ‘20’ The exhibition” is not a classic retrospective exhibition, but looks more deeply into the different themes and concepts that Maison Martin Margiela has presented during the 20 years of its various collections, as well as in its fashion shows, during its installations and events worldwide.

The scenography for the exhibition is by Bob Verhelst, who was once part of Maison Martin Margiela and is very familiar with the work of the fashion house. For this project, he has taken the codes and the visual vocabulary of Maison Martin Margiela and translated them into a surprising exhibition concept.

Exhibition website

Exhibition under the lead of:
Curators: Kaat Debo & Bob Verhelst | Scenographer: Bob Verhelst | With special thanks to: Maison Martin Margiela

Imagery © MoMu Modemuseum Antwerp, photo Ronald Stoops