When I was 15, a friend’s mother kindly introduced me to a curator at the V&A’s fashion department, where I spent a week’s work experience. The exhibition they were putting on at the time and I remember listening with bafflement to tales of Martin Margiela, unsure why I was meant to admire a man for putting mould on tweed suits and deliberately making “ugly” clothes. I liked McQueen and Galliano, but avoided searching out Margiela any further.
I was surprised therefore to see that the show at Antwerp’s MoMu (fashion museum) was titled Margiela: The Hermes Years. What would this designer have to do with a rather stuffy fashion house best known for its scarves and handbags? I couldn’t imagine it, but the show was a revelation.
Simply displayed against plain white or Hermes-orange walls, the clothes were ultra-luxe, genuinely timeless in emphasising quality over passing whims, and yet not boring.
There were defiant surrealist touches – a dress made out of fake engagement rings, a pair of stockings for a coat belt, a string of plastic jewels “staining” a dress with light or blood – but mostly just superb plays of texture against each other and immaculate cutting.
It’ll never be my budget, and Margiela’s colour palette wouldn’t suit me anyway, but you see totally why these clothes were #lifegoals for his audience.
Miu Miu are actually doing a ballet pump version with studded black leather straps, and chiffon ties that go up the leg, but I can’t find a picture of that, so you’re just going to have to imagine it in all its lusciousness.
All photos February 2017 from the Burberry Maker’s House, a display of their new collection (a fantasy of capes and cloaks) amongst some of Henry Moore’s most luscious bronzes and a tempting array of fruits and cake.
Searching for photos of a show at the London Fashion and Textile Museum that is definitely on my list for the indulgent week between Christmas and New Year, I came across the wonderfully-named Sequins and Cherry Blossom blog, whose review can be read here. The photos are from Jazz Age London but an article might as easily be on London architecture, a favourite painting or hidden gardens.
Edit: having been to the show myself, these are now my own photos but Sequins and Cherry Blossom remains worth a visit.