Filmmaking is not a straightforward pursuit at Maison Martin Margiela, where conceptualism is in the house’s DNA. For men’s spring 2011, its short film in grainy black and white was a fascinating play of real and virtual. On a screen in real size, MMM’s labcoated staff set up a white sheet background in random locations around Paris. As soon as the film’s models broke their poses, they returned in real life in front of the screen, sometimes at the same time as their filmed sequence, to juxtapose virtual and real, the graphic image and the actual presence.
While Martin Margiela is no longer in the house, what remains is the quietly subversive style he pioneered, even if it’s without his unique sense of humor. Stiff, minimalist leather vests (some printed to look like wood) were open at the sides as if draped. This is an example of the collection’s geometry system, that two rectangles held together by a single handmade stitch makes a piece. Likewise, shirts unsnapped down the sides to float like a cape. The leather vests were also layered over jackets, or played in patchwork combinations with a leather body and wool sleeves.
For the collection’s finale, MMM came out with a few exceptional pieces: a gladiator-style latticework leather blazer that looked more like sculpture than clothes and a polkadot three-quarter vest in cock feathers—only for the brave, of course.