remembering jenny meirens, maison margiela co-founder
The woman behind Martin Margiela, Jenny Meirens, has passed away.
Maison Martin Margiela, Spring/Summer 96. Foto: Marina Faust.
Jenny Meirens, co-founder of Maison Martin Margiela, passed away in Italy on Saturday aged 73. A creative partner to Margiela and the business brain behind the Parisian couture house, Meirens will be remembered as a forwarding thinking practitioner who changed the shape of contemporary fashion.
Like Margiela, Meirens kept an elusive profile, regularly refusing interviews and photoshoots. One of the few press engagements Meirens did accept, an exclusive interview with the New York Times earlier this year, revealed just how important her role in the brand has been, from its conception in 1988 to the present day.
It was Meirens who suggested Martin Margiela leave their garments labelless, instead leaving three simple white stitches in the place of a tag. It was also Meirens who orchestrated Margiela's rule-breaking Spring/Summer 1990 show. Set in a derelict playground in the outskirts of Paris, Meirens and Margiela inventively employed community engagement, with children from the local school writing invitations to the show. All the kids attend the show themselves, and some even stormed the runway.
"We always wanted to be free, to be spontaneous, and not respond to the impositions of the fashion world," Meirens said of the show. Raf Simons later stated, "As a student I always thought that fashion was a bit superficial, all glitz and glamour, but this show changed everything for me." The house's pioneering anti-establishment aesthetic has gone on to influence the likes of Vetements, Kanye West, and Virgil Abloh to name a few.
Meirens features heavily in We Margiela, a forthcoming documentary on the influential fashion house.
Text Meg Duncan
Photography Marina Faust