Martin Margiela’s Didactic Epistle

The reclusive maverick critiques fashion via a laconic letter…


Designer Martin Margiela is the F-35 of the fashion scene – always stealth, slick, perpetually under the radar, anonymous, savvy and totally state-of-the-art. He always packs a precision punch when it comes to characterizing the industry and its ilk. He recently accepted an award in Antwerp for rightly being designated the it-est creative of his generation (The Belgian Fashion Award/Jury Prize).


Polite, pithy and rather pensive, Mr. Margiela penned a letter instead of turning up in person to the awards ceremony. In his missive, he argues that fashion is in an unsustainable pressure cooker, says that social media has destroyed the ‘thrill of wait’, resents the industry’s unhealthy and hyper-fast tempo, and feels a sense of pride and gratitude about his prior artistic achievements. But he is optimistic about fashion’s future and appreciates a few emerging creatives making their mark. Check the excerpts and read the full text below…


“I am very touched and indeed honored to receive this award, here in my native country. Especially because I stepped down from fashion already ten years ago,” the letter read. “This evening my memory goes back to 1983 when I received, here in Brussels, my very first recognition: the second prize of the ‘Golden Spindle’ contest, handed to me by the then only foreign jury member, Jean Paul Gaultier.”

“I felt that I could not cope any more with the worldwide increasing pressure and the overgrowing demands of trade,” Margiela wrote. “I also regretted the overdose of information carried by social media, destroying the ‘thrill of wait’ and cancelling every effect of surprise, which was so fundamental for me.”

“I am very touched and indeed honored to receive this award, here in my native country. Especially because I stepped down from fashion already ten years ago.”

———–

This evening, my memory goes back to 1983 when I received, here in Brussels, my very first recognition: the second prize of the ‘Golden Spindle’ contest, handed to me by the then only foreign jury member, Jean Paul Gaultier.

Many say that fashion has a short memory as it is obsessed by actuality and novelty. But some recent exhibitions about my work exemplified the opposite. Again, my homeland Belgium was the first to honour my work at the MOMU Antwerp, and then my adoptive city Paris followed with two more, at Palais Galliera and Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

A beautiful tribute to a period of hard work and dedication starting at early age and lasting for more than 30 years, until 2008 – the very year I felt that I could not cope any more with the worldwide increasing pressure and the overgrowing demands of trade. I also regretted the overdose of information carried by social media, destroying the ‘thrill of wait’ and cancelling every effect of surprise, so fundamental for me.

But today, I am happy to notice again a growing interest for creativity in fashion, by some upcoming designers.

This evening, I feel proud and fulfilled and I wish to thank wholeheartedly all of you for your precious support back then and today’s recognition.





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