You Can Now Purchase A Piece Of Fashion History At A Sotheby’s Auction That Will Offer 220 Vintage Creations By Martin Margelaby | August 03, 2019
There was a time in the ’80s when there wasn’t an incessant need for couture to be pretty. It was a time when the Avant-gardists were influencing fashion with their path-breaking and disruptive designs with the likes of Rei Kawakubo of label Comme des Garçons reining. The Japanese designer was infamous for deconstructing garments and creating designs that explored proportions. Her designs, not clothes, were high in concept. It was at the same that Martin Margiela presided over the scene. After having graduated from Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the discreet designer worked with Jean Paul Gaultier, before he went on to establish his own label. Margiela was a visionary, and a radical: he, along with a handful of designers can be attributed with liberating high fashion from vanity.
Margiela resorted to deconstruction that soon came to be known as his signature. The atypical designer often increased garment proportion by over 200 percent or adapted doll’s clothing to human sizes. He was known to paint his garments, at times hand-sewing his designs by weaving into them old wigs and scarves. Perhaps his most notable and recognisable imagery is that of the bejewelled mask from his Couture A/W 2012 show, a signature that has been recreated and updated by John Galliano who is currently, and fittingly so, at the helm of the house.
With the brand until 2009, the designer throughout his stint was media-shy and his face remained unknown to the public until 2008. The notoriously elusive designer never indulged in media interviews, nor did he take a bow at the conclusion of his runway shows. Preferring instead, to hideout backstage and away from the limelight.
So discreet was the designer, that he refrained from using a brand logo, instead, using his ultra-discreet trademark: a piece of cloth with the numbers 0-23. The badge was attached to the inside with four white stitches and exposed to the outside on garments that were unlined. For Margiela's 20th anniversary, the anonymous tag was replaced by a classic logotype.
Sotheby’s is now celebrating the radical designer and revisiting his iconic creations by offering up 220 pieces from a private collection that traces the designer’s journey from 1989 to 2006 and honours his craftsmanship. Scheduled to be held online between September 19 to October 1, 2019, the vintage pieces will include both garments and accessories, including RTW pieces from his Artisanal collection. Margiela’s Artisanal collection questioned garment obsolescence and was created using vintage clothing and found objects transformed by the designer into unique, hand-stitched pieces.
Among the most important items offered in this sale are the tapered coats created at the beginning of his career for the A/W 1989-1990 collection (estimate from €3,000), and doll's clothing enlarged to human scale from the A/W 1994-1995 collection (estimated between €800 - €1,200). It also includes highlights from Martin Margiela's most famous collections, including leather pieces from the A/W 1992-1993 Salvation Army collection (estimate from €1,800), and pieces from the photographic prints collection of S/S1996 (estimate from €1,500) that retain the memory of other garments.
The most iconic lots feature pieces from the S/S 1997 Stockman collection, including the iconic linen jacket (estimate: €7,000 - €9,000) and the down coats of A/W 1999-2000 (estimate from €7,000) in both lengths.
The sale will also offer buyers a unique opportunity to acquire one of the 40 limited-edition pieces from the Artisanal collection: particularly a top created from bow ties, only two of which were produced at that time (estimate: €5,000 - €7,000) and a legendary men's vest assembled from playing cards, only five of which were ever created (estimate: €8,000 - €10,000).
If you are a vintage collector who is in-the-know, preferring discreet brands that are not recognisable by their logos, then tune in to the auction to bid on some iconic designs that will constitute as heirlooms that will be handed down through generations as keepsakes.
Featured Image: Margiela Archive's Instagram