If you loved the show notes that Erin shared with us last week, then you will love these behind the scenes shots. Margiela has been taking pieces from the past and reworking and reinterpreting them for a few seasons now but this last collection was perhaps the best. The results are always spectacular but for 2014 he actually included the information on where the fabrics came from, what was done to them and how many hours went into these pieces. If you have not yet read it click here and do so as it is quite fascinating.
We have showcased the work of designers that have tried to do this very same thing - take pieces from the past and make them something different and new. Some have been more successful then others and to be honest I have always struggled with the concept, as have many of my clients. There is something innately abhorrent to a true vintage purist about taking pieces and deconstructing them. Since in doing so, you are basically destroying the original. Even though I was adamant on choosing people who only used fabric and bits from pieces that no longer could be worn or used because of damage or flaws it still feels a little weird. I think clients feel that way too and slowly we have weaned most of this type of line off the site and it's really hard to pick up new lines that are trying to do this same thing.
Recently, even Moda Operandi got into the game and presented a capsule collecton where all proceeds went to Dress for Success. American designers like Tory Burch, Rag & Bone, Zac Posen and Marchesa chose vintage pieces from Liz Goldwyn and Karen Elson personal collections, then reworked them into pieces that were then presented on the Moda website. However, they simply presented them like they do any new garment, with the barest minimum of descriptions with no nod to the original history, time taken or what was done. The complete opposite in every way to Margiela's approach. From what I saw, it sadly did not seem to do well and I think the lack of including that info is part and parcel of why. Part of me wanted to call them up and say - include a picture of the original piece! Get the designer to tell you what they did and why! Make it feel intimate dammit.
You see, I think that is why so many people connected to the Margiela show. By including those insanely detailed show notes and going into such specifics you are drawn in. You are invested in the creation of the garment that you now see before you on the runway. It feels more respectful to the original and you can those focus on the new creation rather then the destruction of the past
I will always struggle with the concept myself. I won't close my mind off to it and I like to think that when I do have lines on the site that use this concept of blending past and present that I am being as respectful as Margiela was and will perhaps even use their show notes as inspiration to go to yyet another level in my own descriptions of such potential future lines. Whether the Margiela collection is an actual commercial success is something that remains to be seen. The drawback of doing this type of work is the one of the kind aspect - once gone its gone and how do you make endless profits form something you can only sell once (the bane of running a vintage business too I might add). However, that one of a kind aspect is also its greatest strength in other way. Personally I would love to get my hands on several of the pieces shown here is such loving detail. I would revel in the history and work put into each. This is the type of work I want to carry here. Wildly and stupidly complicated and unjustified in the hours to produce each piece.Because if you are going to start with someone else's work in the most blatant and base of ways then you must push what you do to it to art form territory and then share that with the world. Both the journey and the end result.
All photos by Edouard Caupeil from Margiela's Facebook Page.