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Fashion Retrospective at ModeMuseum, Antwerp, Belgium

© Maison Martin Margiela 2008

© Maison Martin Margiela
Foto: Giovanni Giannoni

© MoMu - Foto: Ronald Stoops
Belgian fashion designer Martin Margiela is the subject of an exciting new retrospective at Antwerp’s ModeMuseum. Celebrating 20 years of avant-garde design, the exhibition “Maison Martin Margiela” runs through early February 2009.

A graduate of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, former design assistant to Jean Paul Gaultier and creative director of Hermés, Martin Margiela has been an influential and enigmatic force in fashion. In 1988, he showed the first collection under his own label. The discreet logo that appears on his designs is an unadorned rectangle of white cloth, tacked loosely onto the garments. Martin Margiela boutiques throughout the world are swathed in white, and design and sales staff wear white lab coats.

Writing in London’s The Independent this summer, Susannah Frankel described Margiela’s influence:

“Over the past two decades, Martin Margiela has been responsible for many of the most touchingly beautiful and quietly intelligent fashion statements of all time. If one season, he has taken fabrics normally associated with soft furnishings – flock wallpaper, wooden-beaded car- seat covers, quilted Chesterfield sofas – and transformed them into clothing; the next, he might create a predominantly white collection worn with ice jewellery dyed magenta, ultraviolet and lapis lazuli, designed to melt away on to the clothes, leaving permanent trails of bright colour behind it. Margiela's tailoring is both highly inventive and subtly empowering. His black dresses have the resonance and emotional content of vintage finds.”

Possibly the most elusive of fashion designers – he declines all interviews and has never been photographed by the press – Martin Margiela (or rather, his body of work) is beautifully on view at ModeMuseum Antwerp.

Visiting ModeMuseum and Antwerp:
ModeMuseum Province of Antwerp
Nationalestraat 28
B-2000 Antwerp
tel.: +32 3 470 27 70

The exhibit runs through February 8, 2009. The ModeMuseum (MoMu) opened in 2002, in a renovated historical building in the center of Antwerp. The building also houses the Flanders Fashion Institute and the fashion department of the Hogeschool Antwerpen, Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Other notable graduates of the Royal Academy, along with Martin Margiela, are Ann Demeulemeester and Dries Van Noten. For more information on the Martin Margiela exhibition and ModeMuseum, visit the museum’s web site at

Traveling from the U.S: major carriers (see American, Delta, United, USAirways) offer daily service to Brussels from New York’s JFK, Chicago O’Hare, Atlanta, and Washington Dulles. From Brussels, the relatively short distance between Brussels and Antwerp may be covered by rail or by car. American citizens need a valid U.S. passport to enter Belgium.

For more on visiting Antwerp and Belgium, see

All photographs courtesy of ModeMuseum, Antwerp, Belgium

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