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The historic Maison Martin Margiela 1989 fashion show and its influence on today’s fashion industry

Maison Martin Margiela

The Martin Margiela 1989 fashion show marks an important point in [fashion] history. Why? Because it was the first show open for public, clothes were deconstructed, models were acting outrageous and the front row was packed with children from the neighborhood. Watch and read everything below about this phenomenal show and show it has shaped today’s fashion industry and Maison Margiela as a progressive fashion brand.
Cover photo: © Margielatab1 on Instagram

The Martin Margiela 1989 fashion show – SS90

Paris, 20th arronsidement,1989. A desolate place in a North African neighborhood. Not a regular place for a fashion crowd. However, Jenny Meirens and Martin Margiela forced them to come, when they decided their 1989 fashion show had to take place at this playground in the outskirts of Paris. Without knowing the impact it would have on the fashion industry, it felt good to them.
Before you read any further, watch the full Martin Margiela 1989 fashion show below. Unlike today’s incredibly short fashion shows, this spectacle lasts for almost an hour. Watch and be inspired.
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Doing things differently

Fashion designer Martin Margiela has always done things differently. During the fittings before the show, he asked models about their opinions of the looks, because he wanted his collection to look as if they’d put it together themselves.
The show also marked the big breakthrough of the iconic Tabi Boot, she shoe with two toes. People were hysterical about it. While fashion critics were doubting the success of the entire show and Margiela’s collection, the fashion incrowd loved it. The Tabi Boot looked like a men’s shoe, crafted of thick leather and chunky heels, while everyone was still wearing pumps and stilettos.

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When the first models showed up, everyone knew this show would become history. Models were hobbling on the ‘catwalk’, since it was uneven. They wore extraordinary creations, in line with Margiela’s previous seasons. They new thing about it was the entire experience combined with the collection. Unlike other brands that time, Margiela didn’t use big logo’s, popping colors and polished models. Everything was raw and exciting.


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Lack of big logos

As said, Martin Margiela liked to do things differently. Unlike other designer brands, you will never find a big logo on any garment of the brand. Jenny and Martin liked the mystery around it. They felt that their customers had to be curious about the piece of clothing and that couldn’t happen when a big logo was attached to it. In line with this, neither Martin Margiela nor Jenny Meirens liked to be the center of attention. These creative minds preferred to do things in an innovative way and by doing so, they created the buzz without stepping to the media themselves. Today, you can still recognize Margiela’s pieces on the way the logo is attached to the inside of the piece. On the ouside, you see four stitches. That’s it. Of course, you can recognize Margiela’s items based on their unique fabrics and silhouettes.


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Influence on today’s fashion scene

Fashion student Raf Simons was present at the show. It has changed his life. The successful designer used to think fashion was superficial, but this show changed his view entirely. He now knew for sure he wanted to breakthrough in fashion as soon as possible.

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Futhermore, the Martin Margiela 1989 fashion show marked the end of an era in which designers were exeggerating everything around fashion. From designs, to big logos to over-the-top pieces. While Margiela’s items were unique, authentic and innovative, they respired some sort of rest. The colors were calm and the logos were absent. It formed the start of a minimalistic approach to fashion.


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Margiela was among the first who re-invented vintage pieces into new items. For example, he turned a Harvard Business School sweater into a tote bag. This is something we see a lot right now, for example at Vetements x Levi’s. And this is only one example of many.

In one of his shows, Margiela introduced the oversized silhouette, something which is part of almost everyone’s wardrobes. Something brands such as Acne Studios and Balenciaga are now well known for.

At last, Margiela brought back authenticity. This is very refreshing, in a scene which was dominated by big trends and polished looks. We are very thankful for doing so. 


Did you like this article? Then also read our other fashion articles here. Other recommended reading for you:

Paris Haute Couture Week 2019
How fashion designer Ronald van der Kemp makes the world a better place
Jill Sander SS19 – a minimalistic and marvelous show