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01
The design

A different variation of the "truck driver" knit (as it is known by Maison Martin Margiela) is produced every season. What looks like a simple ribbed knit at first glance is actually created in Italy from fine wool, with a luxurious weight to it. The expert fit and high comfort and quality ensure that this cardigan can be worn for years to come.

02
The details

The cardigan has a comfortable, tall collar and closes with a high quality YKK zip. On the back, the four white pick stitches used to attach the label are visible. Although these were originally intended to make it easy to remove the label, they have since become a Margiela "signature", since they appear on most garments and many people choose not to remove them.

03
The influences

Often Maison Martin Margiela's design influence comes from the garment itself, and its construction, cut, material and so on. This micro-level approach, which has given rise to innovative collections including one where garments were blown up to 600 times their original size, ensures high attention to detail on the finished product.

04
The expertise

More than 70 people of 19 different nationalities work at the headquarters in Paris. Mr Margiela himself graduated from the most prestigious Belgian fashion school. Collaboration and teamwork are at the heart of Margiela, which has ensured that output has remained consistent now that Mr Margiela is involved less with the label.

05
DURABILITY

Despite the fineness of the cloth the shirt is made to last, thanks to the hexagonal gussets that reinforce the side seams where they open into the tails. The shirt also features "Purl" buttonholes that protect the fabric from the wear of the Australian mother-of-pearl buttons.

Shop The Brand
Photography by Mr Michael Bodiam | Words by Mr Peter Henderson
"We prefer that people react to a garment through their taste and own personal style and not their impression of the individual or group
who created it"
Maison Martin Margiela

After graduating from Antwerp's Royal Academy in 1980, and working as Mr Jean Paul Gaultier's assistant for three years, Mr Martin Margiela founded his own label in 1988. He wasted no time in tearing to shreds the accepted way of making and marketing clothes, at times quite literally. Continuing the radical new approach which Japanese designers had started earlier in the decade, Mr Margiela's collections featured frayed hems, inverted seams, visible darts and abstract shapes. Vintage garments were dissected and resewn into new ones, while couture outfits were fashioned from recycled materials. The look was intentionally "unfinished" and worn in, and it was a direct, intellectual attack on the highly polished ostentation which had dominated the 1980s.

Mr Margiela held presentations in a supermarket, an abandoned métro station lit by candles, and on a construction site, and they often seemed more like performance art than fashion shows. On one occasion the clothes were shown on life-sized puppets, bringing to mind surrealist art, an important influence for Mr Margiela. On another, the models wore jewellery made of coloured ice cubes, which melted under the glaring spotlights, leaving

MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA IN PICTURES


THE ARTISANAL LINE
A one-off coat made from deconstructed ski gloves, part of Maison Martin Margiela's Artisanal line
THE FRAGRANCE
In 2010, Maison Martin Margiela released its first fragrance, a unisex cologne called "Untitled". The lab-style bottle mirrors the white coats worn
by Margiela staff
THE AUTUMN/WINTER 2011 COLLECTION
A look from the autumn/winter 2011 collection. In the look books, the models' eyes are always blacked out to focus attention on the clothes. This knit jacket will be available soon on MR PORTER
THE BOOK
In 2009 Rizzoli published a large-format book on Maison Martin Margiela, exploring 20 years of the label's output. It is covered in white cloth, a Margiela design motif
THE INTERIORS
Also in 2009, Maison Martin Margiela introduced an interiors range, shown at the Milan Furniture Fair. This suite at Les Sources de Caudalie hotel in Bordeaux, France, was designed by the maison

coloured trails on the white garments. As anti-Establishment as all this may sound, Mr Margiela has always upheld the greatest respect for traditional techniques and craftsmanship, something that was underlined when he was employed as creative director of Hermès from 1997 to 2003. Everything which is produced by the label is manufactured with great care, with particular attention given to construction, proportion and fit.

Perhaps most remarkable of all, for one of the most influential fashion designers of our time, is that Mr Margiela has never given an interview nor been pictured in the media. The reason for this is partly to let the clothes speak for themselves, and partly to emphasise the importance of teamwork at Margiela, where all staff wear matching white lab coats and work together closely. To underline this point, communications from the company (once sent exclusively by fax, now by email) are always signed "Maison Martin Margiela" rather than being attributed to a particular person.

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