H&M's Next Designer Collaboration is Maison Martin Margiela, According to Industry Sources
Several media outlets this morning are reporting, off a rumor in WWD, that Maison Martin Margiela will be the next design house to collaborate with Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M. The speculation is that the collection will arrive in stores later this year.
Longtime cult-favorite Maison Martin Margiela has, for the past few years, been run without its namesake Belgian at the helm—Margiela officially retired in December 2009. Long considered the designer's designer, Margiela's concepts and collections were avant garde and desconstructionist takes on luxury fashion—with a penchant for fine tailoring and a stark minimalist aesthetic. The designer himself was notoriously elusive—rarely allowing himself to be photographed (this image , which appeared in the New York Times in 2008, is allegedly a photo of Margiela), conducting interviews only via fax, and answering only in the collective "we," never the ego "I." He shied away from the spotlight, never even attending his own fashion shows or flagship grand openings all over the world—instead allowing his work to speak for itself.
A few years ago, when Comme des Garcons embarked on a collaborative project with H&M, it didn't seem like such a vast departure from the brand's image—after all, Comme, at its heart, has always been playful, exuberant, and full of surprises. Also, CdG's forays into the world of diffusion lines and branding projects—Comme des Garcons x The Beatles, or even Play by Comme des Garcons (with its evil-eye heart logo)—always felt they would soon naturally give way to a more accessibly-priced product line.
But Maison Martin Margiela? Sure, the brand has become more much mainstream following the departure of Margiela himself—MMM is now a status name that gets dropped, alongside Versace, in Kanye West song lyrics and a few years ago they licensed a fragrance—but the fashion community's connection to Margiela as a staunchly cult and private label is still a strong, emotional bond.
Are you a fan of Maison Martin Margiela? How do you feel about a possible collaboration with H&M? Which pieces from MMM would you like to see replicated at lower price points? Me, personally, I have a huge collection of the designer's iconic Tabi split-toe shoes, sneakers, and boots that I've been collecting from places all over the world over the last 10 years. I don't know how I'll feel if H&M co-opts the Tabi and sells pairs for $69.99. Maybe a little bit heartbroken.