Design House Maison Margiela French
Designer Martin Margiela Belgian

Not on view

For fall/winter 1998–99, Maison Martin Margiela presented the second part of an exploration of the notion of "flatness," which had started in the collection for spring/summer 1998. The experiment was based on the idea of flat paper patterns being turned into three-dimensional objects. In these collections, Margiela fused Eastern approaches towards dressmaking (along planar lines) with Western concepts of tailoring and patterns, resulting in displaced sleeves, and arm- and neckholes, which created new proportions for the body. The dress, folded flat, was covered in plastic and pulled into a vacuum, leaving an imprint of its own sleeves on the top. The plastic film documents the most intimate details on the flat surface of a garment, which seems to shed its own skin. The dress was worn with a leather jacket made from a recycled biker jacket, whose pattern imitates the flatness of a paper pattern.
Deconstructing the notion of the catwalk show, its theatricality and the idealized bodies of models as clothes hangers, Margiela presented the silhouettes on fifteen puppets with their heads wrapped in plastic, manipulated by two puppeteers. In a meeting of the grotesque and the sublime, Margiela pushed both fashion's method as well as its notions of material and physical beauty one step further.

Dress, Maison Margiela (French, founded 1988), cotton, wool, acrylic, French

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