The elusive fashion designer Martin Margiela is an intriguing phenomenon, in that he has shunned appearing in public; not even to take a bow after his show, or give interviews. In these times of excessive digital media use that makes even non-entities into celebrities, Margiela has kept his contact with the media only via fax. Naturally, when Sotheby’s decided to unveil a collection dedicated to him, it is creating a buzz.
Considered one of the most atypical couturiers of his generation, Martin Marghiela is one of the very few designers to have achieved a radical renewal in the world of contemporary fashion. Nearly 220 items of clothing and accessories from a private collection that revisit the most iconic creations of his career from his emergence in 1989 through to 2006,will be put out in a single high-profile sale.With an exhibition and an auction to be held online between 19 September and 1 October 2019, Sotheby’s will be celebrating the faceless designer who has never given any interview and whose refined white brand label carries no logo. The sale will offer ready-to-wear pieces as well as a wide selection of limited editions from the Artisanal collection.
The radical approach adopted by Margiela involves investigating the construction of garments by deconstructing them. He reveals the reverse of the fabric and its lining. He pushes size to its extremes, from 200% oversized pieces to doll’s clothing adapted to human size. He prints trompe-l’oeil dresses, knitwear and coats. He even paints his pieces. He also questions garment obsolescence with his Artisanal collection created from vintage clothing and found objects transformed by the designer into unique, hand-stitched pieces.
Among the most important items offered in this sale, the collection includes the tapered coats created at the beginning of his career for the autumn-winter 1989-1990 collection (estimate from €3,000), and doll’s clothing enlarged to human scale from the autumn-winter 1994-1995 collection (estimate: €800-€1,200).
The sale includes highlights from Martin Margiela’s most famous collections, including leather pieces from the autumn-winter 1992-1993 Salvation Army collection (estimate from €1,800), and pieces from the photographic prints collection of spring-summer 1996 (estimate from €1,500) that retain the memory of other garments.The most iconic lots include pieces from the spring-summer 1997 Stockman collection, including the iconic linen jacket (estimate: €7,000-€9,000) and the down coats of autumn-winter 1999-2000 (estimate from €7,000) in both lengths.
The sale will also offer a unique opportunity to acquire one of the 40 limited edition pieces from the Artisanal collection, and particularly a top created from bow ties, only two of which were produced at that time (estimate: €5,000-€7,000) and the legendary men’s vest assembled from playing cards, only five of which were ever created (estimate: €8,000-€10,000).