’20’ The Exhibition

A journey through installations, photography, video and film celebrates the 20 years of the most mysterious of the fashion houses. “Maison Martin Margiela ’20’ The Exhibition,” on show at London’s Somerset House (the new home of the city’s Fashion Week), gathers the 20–year history of the brand that changed the look of fashion. Capturing the essence of the maison and the designer’s artistic and conceptual approach to fashion, the exhibition is “a visual examination of the themes of Maison Martin Margiela, from its deconstructivist, subversive design aesthetic and avant–garde couture, to its understated branding, unusual boutique interiors and ‘trompe-l’oeil’, or optical illusion, and its couture atelier white coats.”

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp (whose ModeMuseum curated the exhibition), Martin Margiela worked with Jean Paul Gaultier before launching his brand in 1988 as part of the Antwerp Six (which included Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester). He created a new aesthetic to contrast the power dressing of the 1980s, fast becoming a style phenomenon while maintaining anonymity to let the products speak. The retrospective features the modern classics of the house as well as new pieces created for the exhibition.

Maison Martin Margiela ’20’ The Exhibition, from June 3rd to September 5th, 2010, Somerset House, Embankment Galleries,

-Rosa Maria Bertoli

photography by Ronald Stoops