When the Musée des Arts Décoratifs celebrates the duo Margiela/Hermès : a flamboyant exhibition

Focus on the collaboration of the couturier with the house Hermès

Carte blanche to « Margiela, les années Hermès » at the MAD

Martin Margiela, a mysterious Belgian couturier, sees his work highlighted in Paris during Spring 2018.

As the Palais Galliera unveils its retrospective dedicated to the creator's career, the Musée des Arts décoratifs opens its exhibition "Margiela, Hermès years", a focus on the collaboration of the couturier with the french house from 1997 to 2003.

After Anvers, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs is hosting since the 22nd March to the 2nd Septembre 2018 the exhibition "Margiela, Hermès years" designed and presented in 2017 by the MoMu, Musée de la Mode d’Anvers (Anvers Museum of fashion).

A true immersion into the universe of Martin Margiela, who handles the artistic direction of the exhibition himself.

A couturier who declines interviews

Almost 30 years ago, Martin Margiela creates his own eponymous designer house. The couturier evolves in a universe of creations with minimalist but very avant-garde lines. For many years, the couturier declines interviews and doesn't want to put his name on his creations' labels. White, sewn at the 4 opposite points, they finally become a sign of recognition. The famous "blanc de Meudon" is chosen as a signature for his fashion shows and for the outfits of his staff dressed in immaculate overalls. 

His collaboration with Hermès forces Margiela to go public

It is in 1997 that the couturier goes public by heading up the women collections of the house Hermès. When in Octobre of this very year Jean-Louis Dumas, Hermès president and artistic manager at the time, asks Martin Margiela to draw women ready-to-wear collections, it is a bold choice, breaking with the usual trends in the universe of fashion, where "star" designers are hired. The house Hermès creates a sensation by calling on this iconoclastic creator hardly anyone even knows the face.

Monochromes far from Hermès shimmering prints

Thus, for 6 years, Martin Margiela is in charge of the women collections, thinking up 12 collections influenced by his vision of contemporary luxury, mixing a refined style with a monochrome colour palette. This universe is reproduced within the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, where a hundred of figures he thought up for Hermès and those he made for his own designer house are discussing, between innovative deconstruction and timeless luxury.

Martin Margiela develops a work against the flow of an era of logomania and standardisation, that already takes shape on a large scale. He surprises with his constructed/deconstructed cuts, his oversize volumeshis recycled materials or even his monochrome fabrics that underline the handmade aspect of his creations. 

Comfort, timelessness, sensuality, authenticity are the keywords to define his vision of the Hermès woman associated to a refined style. The new plain and monochrome colour palette he requires is far from the very coloured universe of Hermès prints and provokes amazement among the media. He introduces in Hermès a cut and colour refinement thanks to exceptional parisian saddler materials and numerous innovations. 

A path between the Margiela white and the Hermès orange

During this exhibition, the visitor comes across creations, sketches, photographs and videos through a path where the orange from the house Hermès and the white of the house Martin Margiela responds to one another.

This way, the visitor grasps a creative process that goes through the two houses and each of their codes, without mixing them up. It is the first time that the musée des Arts décoratifs is interested in a major fact of fashion history, when a designer splits between his collaboration for other houses and his own house. 

MAD PARIS, 2018, photograph by Luc Boegly


from the 22nd March to the 2nd Septembre 2018

 • Marie-Sophie CARRONDELACARRIÈRE, heritage chief curator

Artistic direction
 • Martin MARGIELA


Also, read : Hermès on auction, what a great occasion