Originally screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, this 12 minute documentary traces the history of Martin Margiela, from his early days in the 1990s - with a heavy emphasis on his deconstructionist leanings - to the mid-2000s before he quietly exited from his own atelier sometime around 2008. It is a fascinating look at someone who changed how fashion was defined in so many ways as told by friends and insiders.
Equally fascinating is that the documentary does not include a single shot of Martin himself until the very last moments when it shows a clip from the end of a show early on in his career. After that point there is no documented footage that exists that he is present in. The film reflects this - other then bits of body parts - hands that are just in frame that tie and finish pieces on models and that last few seconds Martin himself is absent - hence the title “The Artist is Absent". In an interview with fashion journalist Filep Motwary in 2010, and after the helm had been taken up by Matthieu Blazy who was not named at the time publicly as heading he brand, Maison Martin Margiela said “We do not use any physical image of a designer to promote our work… What our designer looks like has, for us, little or nothing to do with our process…... This absolute dedication to anonymity is feat of privacy that seems almost impossible in our over-documented modern world."
What the film does not cover is an interesting note about his early inspiration that we love as it shows how vintage lay at the root of it all. On British Vogue under his biography it is noted that "In a rare interview with Sphere in 1983, Margiela talked about his first fashion experience. "I was watching the TV news and there was an item about (Paco) Rabanne and (André) Courrèges. As soon as I saw their designs I thought, 'how wonderful, people are doing the sort of thing I want to do’.” There is also a photo of the designer which we have shared below just in case you are kind of dying of curiosity over what he looks like.
Interested to read more? Check out Meghans post on it from a few weeks ago >
Style.com interviewed the the filmmaker Alison Chernick - read that here >