With all the hype around MMM + H&M collaboration, I wasn’t sure what I could write about it. Some reviews of the collection were written by Sefi @ Way too Yellow and by Falafel Fashion (if you are lucky enough to read Hebrew) so I don’t really feel inclined to review the capsule collection thoroughly. I have written my thoughts on designer + highstreet collaborations before and you can read them here.
However, I am a big fan of Maison Martin Margiela and have been following them for the past 4 years. I really love the unusual cuts, the different shapes, and the choice of materials. What I also like is their branding, or the lack thereof.
You see, there is a dedicated periodic system for Margiela’s different lines: a circle on the label, which is printed only with numbers from 1 to 23, to which line the respective item belongs. The label is then sewn with four stitches into the inside of the item in question: from the outside all you can see is the cross of the thread – which perhaps attracts greater attention than a large, strident logo. Margiela’s label seam has become a micro-code that easily manages to bear before it the philosophy of Naomi Klein’s “No Logo”, or even to stand tall for a rejection of consumerism, while at the same time being an extraordinarily striking brand. Here, the lack of a label (elsewhere this would be a defect) becomes an expression of authenticity. It is the Muji principle that ensures special attention for the content by virtue of a lack of branding. It is a strategy of understatement that can be found also in Alfredo Häberli’s “by my side” bags, where the logo is on the inside and colored seams on the outside indicate the life within (The Codes of the invisible @ Stylepark.com).
About 3 years ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the MMM exhibition in the beautiful Haus der Kunst in Munich. I was utterly surprised that my travel companions agreed to go and see this. The first thing I laid my eyes on upon entrance was a white fixture showing the silhouettes of the atelier workers, this was to give us a hint of what is to come. The main thing that came through in that show was MMM’s process of research and experiment that should be a part of every creative journey. This glimpse into the designer’s world was very meaningful to me. I appreciate this artistic approach to design, that is beyond “what will be a hit in stores?”, but rather “let’s do something experimental that’s never been done before”. Margiela’s style and vision came through very vividly and the fact he is now collaborating with H&M is to me the definitive proof that you do not need to sacrifice your creative vision to be a hit.
Below are a few shots from the show. You can see the replica of the design studio and the different clothing case studies and specimens.
The final space of the exhibit was designed to look like a party, probably to remind us that fun is what fashion should be about.
All photos in this post are property of their rightful owner.