“As time flows the ball rolls making it nearly impossible to measure.”
Low-Fi is not an expression normally associated with a luxury fashion brand, yet Paris Couture House Maison Martin Margiela has perfectly assimilated its principles to its house style. If you understand Low-Fi as “something creative made cheaply, independently or on a very low-budget” it all makes sense.
Often wrongly believed to be a member of the Antwerp Six, Martin Margiela did study at the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts but graduated one year before the collective, in 1979. After working freelance, he assisted Jean Paul Gaultier between 1985 and 1987 and in 1989 launched Maison Martin Margiela. The brand was acquired in 2002 by the Diesel group.
Throughout his career Margiela has been very weary of his celebrity status and managed to keep out of the public glare. To this day very few people would be able to recognise him. In the long run this served his brand well as the designer absence after he left fashion was hardly noticed. In 2009 Diesel’s founder Renzo Rosso finally made Margiela departure public explaining: “Martin has not been there for a long time. He is here but not here.”
His strong design principle and conceptual approach however remain. They are perfectly demonstrated in this video released in early October 2013 to present the House Line 13: “Objects and Publications.”
Introduced in 1999, Line 13 was enhanced in 2010 with a furniture collection and every season, a new collection of objects is released and available for purchase at MMM stores and selected retailers worldwide.
This year the collection includes: a cotton tape measure, a white cotton travelling pouch, an hourglass within a plexi sphere, cotton letter stationary, knife rests made from antique decanter stopper, a luminous night-light and fortune eggs. Number 13 is believed to bring bad luck; one is bound to ask whether Line 13 was purposely labelled this way. Who is likely to purchase its products?
Yet Line 13 does fulfil a purpose. The collection and its video presentation tick many of the MMM boxes: anonymity, white, oversized, cotton, Low-fi, white coat, deconstruction, heritage, irony.
At Margiela’s Munich retrospective in 2009, Barbara Vinken explained that, themes of transience and fragility in MMM’s creations “oscillate between trash and fairy tales.” This comment perfectly applies to this latest instalment, yet what remains is a very disincarnate sense of luxury, the idea, the notion of luxury in its most fundamental form. The American voice over says it all: “As time flows the ball rolls making it nearly impossible to measure.”