Dear Shaded Viewers & Diane,
Hugs and kisses, collaboration, unions, friendships & togetherness.
This was the mantra for MM6 Maison Margiela’s SS17 collection. Silhouettes mimicked an embrace, simple denims & cottons symbolised the simplicity of pure friendship. It was a collection filled with love – after all, Margiela has always been a house that focuses on the work of a whole team, not just the leadership of one creative director.
As for the actual collection, it was as plain as one might expect. Downstairs was very plastic: clear & transparent, you were invited to see what was underneath, what was going on. A ‘bake your own t shirt’ guide (very Martin Margiela) acted as a top, a plastic bag became a t-shirt. Upstairs was evidently for their younger audience. Leather & camouflage were a main focus & t-shirts depicted cats in space, a nod to the age of tumblr.
Held inside Christie’s, MM6 tried to subvert the formal connotations with a DIY aesthetic. Inviting artists to come & paint on 100 of their denim Japanese bags, allegedly from the ‘MM6 circle’, the auction house became a studio. We watched the development unfold, becoming part of the MM6 process as spectators.
During the presentation, mannequins were used instead of models. The idea was that they would become a blank canvas (how very conceptual) but the effect lacked authenticity. The very idea of the mannequin served as a reminder that this was a filtered down, fast fashion version of Maison Margiela. It felt impersonal, detached – the opposite of their intentions.
Quite literally to add insult to injury, the artists painting the bags were given no credit whatsoever. To the best of my knowledge, there was also “no budget” to pay them for their labour, despite their collection being about mutual love & togetherness. Using mannequins instead of models also halved their ‘budget’ but drinks were provided by a very jolly team of mixologists.
Whilst opportunity is something that any young creative should be jumping at, if they are not to receive payment – or an ounce of credit – for their labour then where is the brand’s sense of togetherness? Where are their acts of friendship? Collaboration must work to benefit both parties, not the one with the least to lose & the most to gain.