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margiela maskings

ENVELOP: verb 1. To encase or enclose completely. The physical act of enveloping is one of conviction and tradition. The accumulating layers of cloth over face, each one increasingly covering, shrouding, hiding (?) serve both as an intriguing and disquieting detail. The house of Martin Margiela has both intrigued and disquieted us ever since the 80s. Its use and manipulation of masks is another physical manifestation of their ethos; their desire to deconstruct, whether that be cloth or personality. We are faced with non-faced faces, overturned heads, decoratively sheathed torsos, all which present the relentless paradox of Margielian deconstruction and reconstruction. Inspired by the uncanny masks of today's spring 14 couture show, we look back at some of the house's momentous maskings.

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Text Bojana Kozarevic 
Catwalk photography Mitchell Sams 

  • spring 14 couture

     

    In a lavish ode to the hieroglyphics of Tutankhamun and modern tattoos (even a nod to Ed Hardy- only Margiela can make that fun), this beautiful collection was juxtaposed with insect like masks. Eerie and alien, these masks could have almost been a frightening contrast to the stunning clothes- instead they were a captivating disparity to the luxe looks of the body. 

     

    martin margiela spring 14 couture

  • autumn 13 couture

     

    This bust of Chopin, remastered into a loveliness reminiscent of the master's own symphonies, took 93 hours to complete. Crystallised and opulent, this headpiece was an unadulterated reworking of the past by the avant-garde saccharine present. Another piece of art by Margiela. 

     

    martin margiela autumn 13 couture

  • autumn 12 couture

     

    The first outing for the 'Artisanal' couture collection was fall 2012 and it was graced by the presences of kings Raf Simons and Kanye West. Some will care for one more than the other, but either way, this was very telling of the intrigue and integrity the house respects. Did things go downhill after West boughted and then wore the masks? It certainly moved the house into the spotlight which though Margiela himself always fought, it did no harm. We still do not know who is behind the creation nor the donning of the masks, and it's down to the atelier's talents that they've maintained such grand mystery. 

     

    martin margiela autumn 12 couture

  • autumn/winter 12

     

    Not so much a mask as an overwhelming zip-lock. This burgundy suit epitomises the over-sized explicit techniques of Margielian deconstruction and re-definition. Why shouldn't we disappear within a collar? 

     

    martin margiela autumn/winter 12

  • spring/summer 09

     

    At the 20th anniversary of Martin Margiela, the show was filled with screams of adoration, awe and mania. And that wasn't the audience, it was the sound recording accompanying the blanketed monsters of beauty that were pushed down ton metal casings down the acrimonious runway. It was a sensational show. There were masks of white and nude tights, blonde hair and afros spray-painted with verbal power. Revolutionary, challenging and wholly beguiling, this anniversary show was definitive of the inimitable power of Margiela. 

     

    martin margiela spring/summer 09

  • spring/summer 08

     

    Bandeau-ed beauties come to take over the world. Austere black blocks were a distinctly tight wall against any eye contact with the models. (In)conspicuous incognito. 

     

    martin margiela spring/summer 08