Who is Martin Margiela really? Ever since his very first collection in 1989, the identity of the Belgian fashion designer has been a notoriously well-kept secret. Although actual photos of his face can be counted on one hand – none of them date after the 1990s – his name and the impact of his label however are recognised all over the world. Celebrated three years ago with a retrospective at MoMU in Antwerp, then again in 2018 with two Parisian exhibitions at MAD and the Palais Galliera, this pure avant-gardist of the clothing world is once again being honoured with a documentary, set for imminent release.
This ambitious project has been undertaken by the German film maker Reiner Holzemer. After numerous documentaries about photographers including Walker Evans, William Eggleston, Juergen Teller and the Magnum agency, he has recently turned towards fashion designers such as Dries van Noten, about whom he made a film in 2017. Continuing on the theme of the “Belgian School” Reiner Holzemer has now made a documentary entitled Martin Margiela : In His Own Words. Unveiled last week, the trailer for the film gives a little taster of its contents and above all reveals its great defining feature: the vocal intervention of Martin Margiela himself, a veritable exclusivity for this fervently anonymous designer who has practically never been interviewed.
In addition to the Belgian’s comments, the film also calls upon other fashion luminaries such as Jean-Paul Gaultier, where Martin Margiela had developed his skills before launching his own label, and the famous Dutch trend forecaster Li Edelkoort. Together, these various interviewees look back at key moments in the history of his brand: the shock of his first runway show, the integration of veils to cover the faces of his models, the absolute insistence on anonymity… Major commitments that together nourished the creative and subversive strength of the label until Martin Margiela’s departure in 2009: “There are different needs in the fashion world, and I don’t think I can feed them” he explains on this subject in the documentary. Presented at Doc NYC Film Festival last year Martin Margiela : In His Own Words does not yet have an official release date but promises to highlight the work of this genius creator, without whom fashion would not be what it is today.