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Couture line 'Artisanal'
spring/summer 2010  

The value of handcraft and recycling

On 28th January, the pressoffice of the Paris based Maison Martin Margiela has sent an extraordinary information for an Haute Couturier: the label makes a statement about human work and the use of 'old' things.

Maison Martin Margiela presented its couture line 'Artisinal' spring/summer 2010 on 27 January 2010 in Paris. On the next day, a press release that makes a statement about the value of handcraft and recycling reaches Fashionoffice.

The stage presentation and the collection are telling from the Golden Times of Haute Couture: Cabaret and the re-design of eveningwear from the 1940s, 50s, 70s and cocktail wear from the 80s are the sources for the stage set-up (spot-light on the models in front of a curtain), the fabrics and the design of the pieces.

Fashion has many aspects - even if its about clothes, such as couture is not prêt à porter: dressmakers use other manufacturing techniques for couture or prêt à porter, the fashion rythm is completely different, the catwalk presentations are not the same, etc. Couture is where fashion pieces become art sculptures. That's why couture pieces have no expiration date.

The text of Maison Martin Margiela is written in a manner that is typical for couture press releases: each piece has a number and is personalized with the name of the woman who is wearing it in front of the camera: Ekaterina, Anna, Martina... By mentioning the names of the 5 women for the 11 outfits, the Maison gives an impression of the personalized work in couture ateliers where the fashion pieces are elaborated during weeks in team work with the couturiers, the dressmakers, the models, etc.

The outfits are described by manufacturing techniques and how the vintage pieces have been re-used: 'a long evening gown from the 1970s and a top in silk shantung weaved with velvet dots from the 1950s are both fused onto the body to become an asymmetrical pant-dress', 'a vintage dress from the 1950s made of lace, voile and tulle is shifted to become a one-sleeve body', 'two ball gowns from the 1950s are horizontally re-shaped', etc.

The personalization of the pieces and the manufacturing techniques are common parts in couture press releases. But Fashionoffice has never before received a press release from an Haute Couture House that reports the work time!

At the end of each text for the 11 outfits, Maison Martin Margiela includes the hours of work necessary for the creation: preparation, the finishing and the quality control. Excluded are the hours for research of raw material, technical control, necessary treatment (cleaning, softening, dying, etc) and the fittings.

For Ella's outfit (image on this page) with 8600 pearls, the team of Maison Martin Margiela has worked 65 hours.

fig.: Maison Martin Margiela 'Artisanal' spring/summer 2010. Number 7 – Ella is wearing a waistcoat and pants embroidered with pearls. A vintage beaded satin waistcoat is partially embroidered with pearls. It is worn with silk satin pants which front is entirely hand-embroidered to create the texture of a mother-of-pearl dégradé. Leather low boots are also hand-embroidered to fuse the whole silhouette into a trompe l’oeil catsuit.
Silhouette: 65 hours
Satin duchesse, satin, 8600 pearls

Video: Maison Martin Margiela 'Artisanal' couture spring/summer 2010, presentation on 27 January 2010 at the Maison des Métallos, Paris. The video is produced by the biannual printed magazine 'A Magazine' which invites guest curators or designers to express their aesthetic and cultural values Since 2009, the printed magazine has a blog. It is announced that A MAGAZINE #10 will be released simultaneously in print and online in early 2010.

About 'Artisanal' Artisinal is the Maison Martin Margiela line where garments and accessories, used or not, get a 'Second Life'. It's the design concept that the traces of time are visible. The pieces are gathered since the beginnings of the Maison in 1988, when the Belgian designer Martin Margiela has founded the label. Martin Margiela has studied at the Royale Academy of Fine Art Fashion Department in Antwerp, Belgium. Before starting his own label in 1988, he was design assistant at Jean Paul Gaultier, Paris.

Source: Original article with video and image on


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