Store in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills _ Opened on September 5th, 2007 _ Images of architectural details such as doors, stucco and moldings from Maison Martin Margiela’s former premises in Paris are are printed on transparent films
A/W 1990-91 _ Women’s show _ backstage
S/S 1990 _ Tabi boots with hand-tagged graffiti
A/W 2000-01 _ Cooperation magazine, oversized collection feature and snap shots of looks
1999 – Door sign, Boulevard Saint-Denis (headquarters of the Maison from 1990 to 1994)
A/W 2008-09 _ Women’s show, backstage
Headquarters, Paris _ Special installation in the rue Saint-Maur showroom
October 2008 _ Special and limited edition Tabi-boot shaped candle, Sent as a gift to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Maison Martin Margiela
Headquarters, Paris _ Dress forms in Martin Margiela’s studio, Boulevard Saint-Denis (headquarters of the Maison from 1990 to 1994)
S/S 2005 _ Arena Homme+ _ Line 0 _ Peter Doherty wearing a shirt printed with lipstick kisses
S/S 2007 _ Line 0 _ Invitation to the presentation of the ‘Artisanal’ collection, in the form of white embroidery on starched white cotton. It has maintained this form for every season since S/S 2006
A staff member on the stairs at the Paris headquarters, rue Saint-Maur
S/S 1998 _ View on colour _ Interview
Headquarters, Paris _ Workshop in the Maison Martin Margiela rue Saint-Maur offices
Store in Osaka _ opened on August 28th, 2003 _ Invitation and shoe display
Headquarters, Paris _ Men’s commerical showroom _ The custom made trunk and white tailors dummy’s identify the Line 14 concept: A classic and timeless wardrobe for men
The past is what binds us,
The future leads us.
Maison Martin Margiela
Haider Ackermann, Autumn-Winter 2006-2007
Veroniuque Branquinho, Spring-Summer 1998
Dries Van Noten, Autumn-Winter 1997-1998
Haider Ackermann, Spring-Summer 2006. Tilda Swinton in Purple Fashion Magazine, Vol.3, nr.5, Summer 2006
Raf Simons, Spring-Summer 1998
A.F Vandevorst, Spring-Summer 1999
The ‘Six’ in the title refers to ‘The Six of Antwerp’ — Dirk Bikkembergs, Ann Demeulemeester, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Van Saene and Marina Yee — who have been renowned in the world of fashion since the beginning of the 1980s. The ‘plus’ refers to Martin Margiela on the one hand, because he is often bracketed together with ‘The Six’ and on the other hand, to the next generation of designers who have always added new aspects to the Antwerp identity. Finally, the ‘plus’ also refers to photographers, stylists, graphic designers and make-up artists, who have only strengthened the impact of the Antwerp fashion image. The Antwerp style is often described as a type of fashion with a strong feel for identity and tradition, as a conceptual type of fashion that can be interpreted as a reflection on the system of fashion that never gets lost in an abstract artistry or thought. Antwerp fashion is praised by many journalists and buyers because of its unique balance between realism and creativity, which also explains the huge commercial success. With works by Bernhard Willhelm, Raf Simons, Patrick Van Ommeslaeghe, Kris Van Assche, Haider Ackermann, Les Hommes, Lieve Van Gorp, Bruno Pieters, Peter Pilotto, Veronique Branquinho, Jurgi Persoons and A.F. Vandevorst.
6+ | Antwerp Fashion
Kaat Debo : Geert Bruloot
Robbie wears jacket, waistcoat, shirt, tie and denim trousers all by Raf Simons Archive; vintage combat boots from Naughty I, Antwerp.
Chloe wears vintage waistcoat by Martin Margiela; jacket and trousers by Balenciaga; T-shirt by Raf Simons Archive.
Robbie wears jacket by Comme des Garçons Homme Plus; waistcoat by Martin Margiela; shirt and tie by Raf Simons Archive; trousers by Louis Vuitton.
Chloe wears sleeveless jacket by Raf Simons Archive; vintage dress by Helmut Lang; vintage leggings by Stephen Sprouse.
Robbie wears jacket, waistcoat, shirt, tie and trousers all by Raf Simons Archive; vintage combat boots, stylist’s own.
Chloe wears jacket, dress and leggings by Veronique Branquinho; T-shirt by Raf Simons Archive; vintage combat boots, stylist’s own.
Chloe wears suit by Comme des Garçons; vintage combat jacket from Waterlooplienmarket, Amsterdam; boot’s stylists own. Robbie wears jacket, shirt and tie all by Raf Simons Archive; vintage combat waistcoat from Waterlooplienmarket, Amsterdam; trousers from Naughty I, Antwerp; boots stylist’s own.
Robbie wears waistcoat by Martin Margiela; jacket by Louis Vuitton, shirt, tie and trousers all by Raf Simons Archive.
Chloe wears vintage waistcoat by Martin Margiela; T-shirt by Raf Simons Archive; skirt by Veronique Branquinho.
Chloe wears jacket by Raf Simons Archive; vintage dress by Stephen Sprouse.
Photography by Willy Vanderperre
Styling by Olivier Rizzo
Hair & Make-up by Peter Philips
Hair Colouring by Tom Malongre
Assisted by Annemie Meyers
Models: Chloe at Vision & Robbie
Special thanks to Stephen Sprouse, Pia Versele, Gerrit Bruloot, Marian Eggers and Raf Simons.
‘Heroes’ : The Inspiration Issue
Guest edited by Raf Simons
Spring-Summer 2003. Consumed. Photographed by Mario Sorrenti. Syling by Panos Yiapanis. Arena Homme Plus no. 18, 2003.
Isolated heroes no.1: Robbie. Photographed by Raf Simons. Antwerp, 2000.
Autumn-Winter 1999-2000 (flag). Photographed by Raymond Jacquemyns. Antwerp 2005.
Robbie. Photographed by Willy Vanderperre. Styling: Oliver Rizzo. Grooming: Peter Philips. Antwerp, 1999.
Autumn-Winter 2003-2004. Collaboration with Peter Saville. Hand-painting on garments executed by Stef Driesen and Antonia Deluca. Cis, Johan, Peter. Photographed by Willy Vanderperre. Hair: Tom Malomgre. Make-up: Peter Philips. Paris, 2003.
Robbie. Photographed by Willy Vanderperre. Styling: Oliver Rizzo. Grooming: Peter Philips. Antwerp, 1999.
Collier Schorr. Base Portraits/Barracks. New York, 2005.
Spring-Summer 2002. Alexander. Photographed by Kurt De Wit. Grooming: Peter Philips. Paris, 2001.
Video still. Spring-Summer 2002.
Raf and me – we are the Nicky brotherhood. Other people might look at out two members only-congregation as just another Nicky Wire (of Manic Street Preachers) fan club, but both of us know the word “Nicky” means so much more, so we don’t care. For the uninitiated, it would take a long, deep plunge into the complete history and output of the Manics to fully understand, so just take it from me that “Nicky” stands for conviction, fervor, pride, defiance and self-belief against ones own lucky or unlucky fate. When Nicky Wire falls to his knees onstage, bass guitar low, his eyes closed, lost in melody and noise, signing along to to the very words he himself wrote, it’s not your typical freeze-framed rock pose. It’s the very white-out of deliverance and intent and melancholia all true art has, or should have. Life the Nicky way is what all of us like to aspire to. Above all, “Nicky” stands for passion. There’s so, so much passion in Raf’s head and heart. He’s a believer – always. Take anyone working in his office or somehow associated with him as an example. He has this ability to see the spark in people, no matter what background or possible shortcomings. and then fan the flame until it becomes a glowing fire. Passion is what drives his work, too. If there’s one thing I wanted to get across with this book, it’s this; put aside, although never erase, the schoolboy, the robot, the goth drop-out, the protester, the nature kid, the space-age casual. They’re only symbols, indicators. What they really convey is pure emotion without any trickery. Raf has proved that, in one big natural swoop and before the commentators can make their seasonal shopping round-up, fashion can indeed say something all-encompassing and essential about masculinity, society, individuality and freedom. Whispering, wondering, hesitant, shouting, jubilant or unafraid, Raf’s voice has always been for real. And I’m glad that the world has been taking note.
In 1991, Nicky Wire changed my life when he and Richey wrote the lyrics to “Motown Junk”. Five years ago, Raf also radically, positively redirected my own route by inviting me wholeheartedly into his world. If it wasn’t for him, I probably would still hide my strange scribblings and paste-and-cuttings in a box under my bed.
If the cover and the spine of this book could have taken more letters and words, this excerpt from Wire’s Manics lyric should have been the full title, because it truthfully sums up the full ten years of Raf Simons:
“It was no surface but all feeling
Maybe at the time it felt like dreaming”
Raf: Nicky and brotherhood.
– Peter De Potter
Raf Simons: Redux
Raf Simons : Peter De Potter : Maria Luisa Frisa
Fondazione Pitti Discovery
Fine Weave Woollen Dress, Spring Summer 1988 / Loose Coat with Crushed Effect, Autumn Winter 1984 – 1985.
Yohji Yamamoto in Paris, making final revisions to the show for Spring Summer 1991.
New York Catalogue, Autumn Winter 1984 / 1985.
A fitting in progress in Yohji Yamamoto’s workroom in Tokyo.
Evening Gown in Black Gabardine, Spring Summer 1993 / Cutting to the millimetre, rather than the centimetre.
“People wear my clothes to make a statement,” explained Yohji Yamamoto, summing up, in the laconic style we have become familiar with over the last twenty or more years – a contribution to fashion that constitutes an exploration of fashion itself. For this was not the leisured opulence of haute couture, the flashy brilliance of prêt-à-porter, nor even the futuristic vision of the avant-garde. What became clear, gradually but inexorably, as we followed the Japanese designer’s repousal of the great archetypes of fashion, was that his choice of a neutral vocabulary, his adoption of a simplified palette and range, was the power and essential difference of the Yamamoto style. It was an approach which, while taking into account the contribution of Paris couture, and indeed traditional Japanese costume, nevertheless set out quite deliberately to tap new areas of creative potential in the domain of fashion in all its modes and manifestations – a world that had experienced more fresh starts in a single turbulent century than it had in the previous thousand years.
When the first Yamamoto model insinuated itself into the brilliant, structured, over-accessorized world of Paris prêt-à-porter in the eighties, the line was loose-fitting. The garment stood right away from the body it delicately encased, apparently never touching it. Usually thick, opaque and dark in color, it often seemed to be standing up by itself. Of positively medieval severity, it had a second-hand look about it that prompted some to describe it as post-punk (grunge was still light years away). It looked lived-in, as though it had acquired a patina with the passage of time, like those items in our wardrobe that have become special favorites. It reflected that hatred of what is new that is so wonderfully exemplified by a certain sort of English dandy who used to have his boots broken in for him, and got his valet to wear his camel-hair suits for the first couple of years. To Wim Wenders, who made a feature film about him, the designer confided: “My dream is to draw time.”
One thinks of all those oversized capes, unstructured coats, and asymmetric jackets. “Symmetry – the symbol of perfection – is not sufficiently human.” And it is, precisely, to humanity that this master of scissors and fabric looked for his inspiration – to the work clothes worn by hundreds of anonymous figures; for example, those men and women from the German heartland who posed for the photographer August Sander between the wars. To boilersuits, dungarees, overalls, pea jackets. Even the railwayman’s outfit made up of layers – the apotheosis of the tramp who carries the world on his back. A garment that becomes one with the person who wears it, so much a part of him that it is entirely subordinated to the force of his personality. “Whether a season’s fashion is interesting or not does not depend on the designers who created it, but on those who see and buy it.”
Although he would not go so far as to lay claim to the status of artist, in his approach to clothes Yohji Yamamoto shows himself to be exceptionally responsive to contemporary trends – in the same way that couturiers of preceding generations responded to Cubism, say, or the Ballets Russes or Pop Art. Caught up in the delirium of the seventies, Andy Warhol was heard to remark, “When you think about it, department stores are kind of like museums.” (indeed he went so far as to reserve the formula, explaining that he liked Rome because it was a sort of museum, “like Bloomingdale’s.”) Arte Povera went further still, with its refusal to be seduced by smooth surfaces, Pop colors and the consumer society, opting instead for basic elements that had not been transmuted: wood shavings, rags, mud, coal, and so on. In the “roaring eighties,” Yohji Yamamoto would attempt something comparable – one of a small number who tried to break away from a fossilized conception of what clothes were. He did this by disrupting the codes by which clothes made their appeal; by rethinking the glamorous signals sent out by their external appearance; by redefining their relationship with the male or female body; and, ultimately – to near universal incomprehension – by radically reinterpreting the respective contributions of beauty and ugliness, past and future, memory and modernity.
The romantic ideal of the tortured artiste is always in fashion — even so, the Number (N)ine designer Takahiro Miyashita seems to take special pains to suffer for his craft. When planning the portrait that accompanies this article, he asked that his face be obscured, perhaps fearing that the gigantic frames he wears wouldn’t provide sufficient cover. During our interview, he fielded several questions with enigmatic pronouncements like ‘‘You would have to ask my brain’’ and ‘‘I am a shadow.’’ At times, he simply stared into space, as if submerged in an autistic trance. Thus the sobriquet ‘‘Taka the oyster.’’
Miyashita is part of a relatively new wave of Japanese designers,including Junya Watanabe, Undercover’s Jun Takahashi and Daiki Suzuki of Engineered Garments and Woolrich Woolen Mills, who are obsessed with American style; in Miyashita’s case, his dark side yields clothes of paradoxical luminosity. His fall collection, My Own Private Portland, features updated Northwest classics like plaid shirts, fur-lined trapper hats and nubby, grungy cardigans. In the spring of 2009, his Lonesome Heroes dudes will be sporting a mishmash of brocades and Navajo patterns.
At 16, Miyashita came to the States and fell in love with Americana. While his contemporaries were struggling with algebra and first dates, he was assisting stylists for Japanese magazines like the defunct Check Mate. ‘‘I got expelled from school because I did so many things,’’ he says cryptically, before admitting to having smoked pot. Miyashita spent his days on the streets of Harajuku and Shibuya, the epicenters of Tokyo teenage street style; what little money he had he spent on clothes, which he’d tear apart in order to remake and customize them. Through this process he taught himself how to design and started working with Nepenthes, a label that specialized in American-inspired clothing. Eventually he began traveling regularly to the States for research, focusing on cities like Austin, Tex.; Butte, Mont.; and his favorite, Portland, Ore.
Miyashita wears his pop-culture infatuations on his sleeve — and everywhere else. On a recent afternoon in Paris, he sported old khakis with Birkenstocks, a lumberjack shirt, a Victorian-inspired vest, a dangling fur satchel, an assortment of necklaces and trinkets, a jeweled guitar pin, a large stone ring, a leather cuff, a big plastic watch, a rakish hat and a crumpled cigarette pack worn as a brooch. His shows are set to the tracks of idols like Nirvana and Johnny Cash. He constantly adds to the collection of vintage clothes, records and images that inform his work; ‘‘The Outsiders’’ and ‘‘Rumble Fish’’ are two of his favorite movies, and he’s crazy for Joseph Szabo’s pictures of American teenagers in the ’70s and Slater Bradley’s ‘‘Doppelgänger Trilogy’’ featuring Kurt Cobain.
‘‘What sets us apart from older Japanese designers like Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto is that we are much more influenced by youth culture and, especially, music,’’ says Jun Takahashi, Miyashita’s close friend. He’s right: while their predecessors have traditionally focused on intellectual experiments with texture and shape, these new designers have an innate understanding of global street trends. Miyashita, who not surprisingly loves American punk rock, has formed two bands, the Highstreets and the Ivory. ‘‘I still believe that music can change culture,’’ he says. (The name Number (N)ine refers to the Beatles’ ‘‘Revolution 9.’’) ‘‘I just made a song called ‘Dark Shadow,’ ’’ he says. ‘‘The lyrics say, ‘Please, please, please kill me.” All my work, whether it’s in fashion or music, is about rebellion and not being conventional.’’
He recently traveled to Portland to see Wipers, a favorite band, but says he’d instantly give up music if he had to choose between that and fashion. His men’s line is growing steadily, and he hopes to further develop his women’s range, which at the moment consists only of adapted versions of his men’s collection. ‘‘Without fashion, I would have nothing,’’ he says earnestly. ‘‘It’s my life.’’
It’s the quintessential designer sound bite, but in this case it feels painfully real.
– Armand Limnander
Image / HUgE Magazine
Text / T Magazine
Image courtesy of Interior Design.
Karlo Steel, a New Orleans native, is serious, soft spoken, and contemplative. Only his dark eyes, set behind horn-rimmed glasses, and an occasional chuckle give away his emotions. And yet his passion shines through his impassive demeanor. He wears his fashion heart on his sleeve. As he unfolds a long gray coat by Austrian designer Carol Christian Poell, he talks about it in his quiet voice. Of course, the explanation must start from afar; Steel is not satisfied with merely describing the garment.
“First of all, let me give some background information. Tailoring for men is slowly dissolving from our lives. The suit is dead. Today, men wear suits only when they have to. Compare that to 1948, when every man wore a suit every day. One of the few people who are infusing a sense of modernity into traditional tailoring is Carol. I am not necessarily talking about designing something new, but breathing a new life into a corpse. He is taking traditional, conservative tailoring and bringing it up to date. There is an element of experimentation that goes into his work. Not all of it is successful, but that’s the price you pay. This is the intersection of what was, and what will be. This is why Carol is important to us – he is the anchor of what we do at Atelier.”
Your store has a particular aesthetic that can be described as dark or gothic. This aesthetic does not seem to come from merely a desire to satisfy a niche, but from something personal. Is this true?
“What I do is deeply personal. I am lucky that a lot of people connect with it. I am really attracted to cities. When I think of cities, I see concrete and graphite, gray, black and white. I never picture myself in a bucolic countryside. I am not against these environments, but whenever I picture myself, it’s urban – there are certain vibrations, textures and feelings that come with that, and that is expressed through the brands I am attracted to. I do not see myself particularly as gothic, although there is a lot of black and distressed clothing in the store. I am kind of romantic, but in a sense that things do not always end well, not in a pastoral sense.”
Some designers you carry, Ann Demeulemeester, Number (N)ine, Rick Owens, are often accused of doing the same thing. However, it seems that what they do comes from the inside and that anything else would be inauthentic.
“This is true with some designers we carry. Yet there are others, particularly from Japan, who tend to imitate. It’s a cultural thing, an idea that imitation is the highest form of flattery. In the avant-garde fashion realm, there is a torch being passed down. In the 1980s the Japanese, Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garcons, began it, their clothes were a novelty; black, asymmetric and deconstructed. They influenced the Belgians, such as Ann Demeulemeester and Martin Margiela, who came in the ’90s. Now, the torch is being passed back to the young Japanese designers, who are looking up to the Belgians. For example, if I see Number (N)ine, I think Ann Demeulemeester. The influence is there, and he wouldn’t deny it, but he does it in his own way. The cognoscenti can read the references, but there are differences when you put the garments side by side. Andy Warhol once said that you are allowed to copy as long as you change two things. Sometimes you have to start somewhere, and through imitation you can come to your own ideas.”
These designers represent two generations. One came in the late ’90s, and the other fairly recently. They appeal to younger clients. And then you have Yohji Yamamoto, an important designer, but from an older generation. Was the decision to carry him a gamble?
“Yes. We were offered to carry Yamamoto; an opportunity I could not pass up. It was an emotional decision on my part. Growing up in the late ’70s, I went searching for what I wanted to wear in my life. I knew I wasn’t getting it from GQ or Vogue. It wasn’t reflecting the kind of music I listened to, the kind of movies I watched. Then I came across new magazines like Face, Blitz, and I.D., English magazines. They were more about style rather than fashion; they were not about what you were wearing, but how you were wearing it, and how the clothes were connected with other cultural phenomena.
The two names that stuck out were Comme des Garcons and Yohji Yamamoto. Yohji is someone who I’ve always held dearly to my heart. I appreciate his influence and integrity. When we were offered the collection, I knew that Yohji was in some areas out of sync with what we do, but he also started it all. It’s not easy, but I can see how it is causing some people to reconsider Yohji. Of course, I always try to buy what works with the shop. You do not necessarily have to subscribe to the designer’s point of view.”
There is also the other side of the shop: Carpe Diem, Carol Christian Poell and Label Under Construction. These are not “designers” in the traditional sense; they consider themselves artisans. What attracted you to them?
“It was something I felt drawn to. I can appreciate their point of view and connect with their aesthetic. It’s hard to talk about all of them together, because they are all different.”
What unites them is the handmade approach of a craftsman. Does that play a big part in this attraction?
“Yes, and that is something I am aiming to explore further. In the world of instant access and obvious commercial desires, it is nice to find something that does not keep those things at the forefront. The garment is at the forefront, and I respect that. Having designers that show off the standard semi-annual fashion week schedule is inconvenient for me as a buyer, and I wouldn’t do it for something that wasn’t worthwhile.”
Talking about $5,000 leather jackets and avoiding commercialism is problematic. People look at price tags, but not necessarily at the garments.
“We live in a culture where people know the price of everything, but the value of nothing. I suppose it’s a sign of the times, because everything is popular and instant. It is refreshing to find these designers in such a climate. I do not want to compare what they do with art, but there are parallels. Art by its very nature is anti- populist. And yes, it is very expensive. I wish it weren’t, but we also have a weak currency, and a lot of these designers come out of Europe, especially Italy. It is an interesting topic in itself. Italy is very ‘Italian’ in regard to fashion. There are some very big names in Italy that push a certain flashy, gaudy aesthetic, with a small underground school working against that. For every culture there is a counter-culture. If you grew up on a diet of shiny gold, you might want some dull leather.”