Belgian fashion designer and founder of fashion house Maison Martin Margiela (now known as Maison Margiela), Martin Margiela has a 12 minute documentary created by Alison Chernick which has now been released for online viewing. The documentary, which was originally made for the Tribeca Film Festival as a short film covers the aspect of Margiela’s life for which he is known for: his desire to remove attention from himself. The film, named The Artist is Absent covers the development of Margiela as a designer, his career and his history. The film is made of clips of old archived footage taken from some of his old shows, interviews and collaborations.
The documentary covers some of the things that Margiela is most known for. It highlights how, along with shifting the limelight away from himself, Margiela seemed to project this desire for anonymity onto the models in his shows too. Vogue international editor, Suzy Menkes has described this by saying that Margiela shunned the era where supermodels were peaking inorder to display his clothing pieces on models that instead looked less human and more like mannequins walking down the runway. In many of his shows, Margiela’s models have been seen covering their faces with their hair styled in such a way, paint or even masks covering their entire faces. Paradoxically, in his very refusal to stay in the limelight, he became known for that very aspect, almost becoming notorious for it and gaining more recognition for it.
It should be noted that Martin Margiela has never had his picture taken, and all of his contact with others only happens through fax. All the labels on the clothes he creates have a unique trademark of his which is a cloth attached with a number between 0 and 23 marked on it. His work as a designer began in the 1980s. He worked for Jean Paul Gaultier from 1985 until 1987 and became creative director of Hermès’ womenswear. In 2009 it was announced that he had left the fashion industry, and in 2014 John Galliano became the creative director of Maison Margiela.
Images Source: Dazed Digital and L’Orpheus.