August 21 / 2017
  • The House - Introduction

Maison Margiela is a French fashion House, founded in Paris in 1988 by Belgian designer Martin Margiela.

Both masculine and feminine, oftentimes fusing the two genders, the House takes a cerebral approach to deconstructing, reinventing and redefining men’s and womenswear silhouettes. Since 2012, Maison Margiela has held the official ‘Haute Couture’ appellation from the Féderation Française de la Couture for its collection entitled ‘Artisanal’. 

In 2014, British couturier John Galliano was appointed as the House’s Creative Director. Margiela’s uncompromising approach to its iconoclast heritage is cast through Galliano’s poetic vision of Haute Couture, marrying conceptualism with artistry, mystery with modern elegance.

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The Maison is founded by Belgian designer Martin Margiela with a single dresscode for all personnel: the uniform ‘blouse blanche’ is embraced as a uniting factor of the ‘creative collective’, as well as a nod to the Haute Couture ateliers of the past.

The headquarters are painted entirely in white; its furniture covered in sheathes of white cotton. 

The first women’s ready-to-wear collection is debuted on October 23rd. An acutely unique visual identity is established in rebellion to the dominant trends of the time: long, slender silhouettes are shown on masked models.

Each garment is marked with a plain white label, fastened by four stitches, which can be cut and removed to render the garment anonymous.

One-of-a-kind garments created from recycled and deconstructed pieces in the House’s Parisian ateliers are infused into the womenswear collections and labelled ‘Artisanal’.

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  • 1994

Each garment is marked with a plain white label, fastened by four stitches, which can be cut and removed to render the garment anonymous.

One-of-a-kind garments created from recycled and deconstructed pieces in the House’s Parisian ateliers are infused into the womenswear collections and labelled ‘Artisanal’.


The Autumn-Winter 1994 ‘Barbie’ Collection introduces the concept of ‘Replica’ by reproducing and enlarging doll-sized garments for the life-sized human form.

From 1994 onward, garments and accessories collected from around the world continue to be reproduced and infused into seasonal collections as part of the ‘Replica’ concept. 

The charity AIDS t-shirt is created bearing the text: “THERE IS MORE ACTION TO BE DONE TO FIGHT AIDS THAN TO WEAR THIS T-SHIRT BUT IT’S A GOOD START”. A percentage of the sales is given to the French charity ‘AIDES’. 

  • (1997)
  • (1997)
  • (1997)


The Maison’s plain white label is joined by a new label: marked in black with numbers 0 – 23, the circled digit indicates to which line the garment corresponds. 

Launch of the Line 6, later dubbed MM6 – The Contemporary Line. MM6 takes an unconventional approach to feminine, casual codes through contemporary cuts and prints with women’s clothing, footwear, accessories and leather goods. A single horizontal stitch, visible from the garment’s exterior, fastens the MM6 label to each garment.

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The Line 10 – the Collection for Men – is debuted for the Spring-Summer 1999 season.

Time-honoured silhouettes are cast through the Maison’s iconoclast lens: deconstruction and sartorial tailoring reign supreme. The Line 14 – a Wardrobe for Men – complete with classic, functional pieces accompanies the Line 10. 

The iconic ‘Tabi’ shoe, inspired by traditional Japanese footwear, emerges from a boot with a split toe and cylindrical heel. Throughout the years, the ‘Tabi’ is reinterpreted in an array of colours, finishes, shapes and sizes.  

Dubbed the ‘Collection Plate’, the Spring-Summer 1998 womenswear collection explores geometry and form through keen tailoring and clever fastenings, which allow each piece to open and lie perfectly flat when not worn on the body.

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  • (2000)


The first Maison Margiela boutique opens in Tokyo’s Ebisu neighbourhood.

The first boutique moved to current location in 2006. The new boutique occupies a former industrial plant, where switchboards and control systems are preserved as design elements. Whitewashed walls meld with white cotton-covered furniture and trompe l’oeil wallpaper, echoing the avant-garde visual identity of the Maison’s headquarters and showrooms. 

The ‘Oversize Collection’, comprised of garments with enlarged and exaggerated proportions, is shown for the Autumn-Winter 2000 season. Each piece is moulded to an Italian size 78 and retains its enlarged proportions when worn on a smaller body.

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The House’s first European boutiques open in Brussels and Paris, respectively.

Each boutique celebrates the unique architecture and history of the original spaces while harmonizing the interior décor according to the codes of Maison Margiela. 

Maison Margiela welcomes Renzo Rosso, president of OTB, as a majority shareholder.


Maison Margiela moves to its current headquarters at 163 rue Saint Maur in Paris’ 11th arrondissement.

Dating from the 1700’s, the structure served as a convent for nearly a century before being transformed into an industrial design school. Whitewashed and cracked walls, marked with the passage of time, have been preserved while blackboards from the former school still hang in a number of spaces. The restoration work has meticulously honoured the building’s history while shaping its interiors to reflect the Maison’s visual universe.

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  • (2004)
  • (2004)
  • (2004)
  • (2005)


Maison Margiela is given ‘carte blanche’ by ANDAM (France’s National Association for the Development of the Fashion Arts) to display ‘Artisanal’ garments and accessories in the windows of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication in Paris’ Palais Royal. 


Across the Atlantic, Maison Margiela opens its first New York boutique in Manhattan’s West Village. Originally presented as a temporary, ‘under construction’ space decorated with scaffolding and unpacked boxes, the store was redesigned in 2016 to express the House’s luxe, avant-garde persona.

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Maison Margiela becomes a correspondent member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture and presents its first ‘Artisanal’ collection – referred to as line 0 – for Spring-Summer 2006.

Each ‘Artisanal’ garment is created by hand in the House’s Paris ateliers using an array of reworked vintage, antique, found and raw materials. In 2012, the Maison Margiela ‘Artisanal’ Collection receives the official ‘Haute Couture’ appellation from the Fédération Française de la Couture. 

Maison Margiela is invited as one of the first guest designers for menswear at Pitti Immagine Uomo, the world-renowned bi-annual menswear trade show in Florence, Italy.


The Line 8 – Eyewear Collection is launched with the ‘Incognito’ model: a flat uni-lense that covers the front and sides of the face in a black band, concealing one’s identity.


The Maison Margiela 20th Anniversary exhibition is hosted at Antwerp’s ModeMuseum (MoMu), delving into the House’s themes and codes by exploring 20 years of collections, fashion shows, interior design, and even the Maison’s communications policy.

The exhibition later travels to Somerset House in London and Haus der Kunst in Munich. 

The House’s celebratory 20th anniversary show takes place for the Spring-Summer 2009 season. Paying homage to the Maison’s history, the collection is infused with a number of ‘re-edition’ garments, reinterpreted from past collections. 

Line 12 – the Fine Jewellery Collection is debuted with oversized interpretations of classic pieces, including ultra-enlarged chains and XXXL-sized signet rings.


Publication of the House’s retrospective book, edited by Rizzoli.

  • (2009)


The House’s first perfume, baptized (untitled), ushers in the Line 3 – Fragrances Collection.

(untitled) encapsulates the anonymity of Maison Margiela through a mélange fresh green notes packaged within a raw glass apothecary bottle dipped in white paint.

  • (2011)


Maison Margiela takes creative charge of the redesign of the Maison Champs-Elysées hotel in Paris.

Bringing together day and night, public and private spaces, classic Haussmannian architecture is reinterpreted through the filter of the Maison’s surrealist vision. 

The redesign project marked the launch of the Line 13 – Objects & Publications, Maison Margiela’s collection of interior design pieces.

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The ‘Replica’ concept extends from reproduction of garments to that of scents with the launch of the ‘Replica’ fragrances collection.

Each perfume, marked with its provenance and period, recalls images and memories that echo the collective unconscious as well as our own personal history. 

Maison Margiela partners with H&M to create a collection comprised of ‘re-edition’ pieces taken from the House’s archives. The collaboration encapsulates the Maison’s key codes – from oversized to anonymity – by skewing shapes, volumes and traditional tailoring.

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  • (2012)


Maison Margiela appoints John Galliano as Creative Director, marking a new era in the House’s history.

John Galliano
  • (2015)


The first Maison Margiela ‘Artisanal’ Collection designed by John Galliano is shown in London.

Garments are stripped down and reborn in unexpected fashion, embodying a strange new beauty through clever tailoring and an unconventional jigsaw of details. White muslin toiles of each look are sent down the runway as part of the shows finale.

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The 5AC handbag is launched as part of the Line 11.

Its name is derived from the French word ‘Sac’, meaning ‘Bag’, encoded using vintage Internet ‘133t’ speak. The lining of the 5AC can be pulled outward to expose an otherwise typically anonymous element.

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  • (2016)
  • (2016)
  • (2016)
House bottom image
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