Get your freak on!
By SARAH FONES
The New York Post
When fast-fashion chain H&M announced its collaboration with the fabled Maison Martin Margiela fashion house, tongues wagged, eyes rolled and a few well-coiffed heads were scratched.
Since 2004, when Karl Lagerfeld became the first big-name designer to create a collection for the Swedish mega-retailer, it’s become de rigeur for high-end fashion houses, from Versace to Lanvin, to slum it with the masses. But Margiela, a far more obscure label, seemed a uniquely odd fit with H&M.
“It’s an unusual choice for a mass collaboration,” says stylist and former V fashion market editor Catherine Newell-Hanson of the label, which is known for its complex, defiantly un-trendy and not always flattering clothes.
The collection hits stores on Thursday and will feature “re-editions” of iconic MMM pieces from its 24-year history, like a nude-color bodysuit with a trompe l’oeil black bandeau bra, a duvet coat and a pair of “inside out” blue jeans.
Established in 1988 by an elusive namesake designer who has never granted face-to-face interviews and has rarely been photographed, Maison Martin Margiela has attracted critical accolades over the years for avant garde designs like cloven-toe boots that resemble animal hooves, knits with inlaid brick motifs and jackets made almost entirely from synthetic hair.
Such designs were fawned over by fashion insiders when they first went down the runway, but industry insiders are dubious as to whether their mass-market reissues, priced from $12.95 (for a women’s “hair lock” necklace) to $399 (for men’s and women’s assorted jackets and shoes), will fly off the retail racks or just cheapen the high-fashion house.
“Those who love Margiela love it in part because it’s unique and not trying to appeal to everyone,” says fashion consultant and StyleDefined NYC blogger Katya Moorman.
Even its celeb fans tend toward the eccentric, such as Lady Gaga, actress/designer Chloë Sevigny and model Helena Christensen.
Another sticking point among fashionistas is whether H&M will be able to replicate MMM on the cheap: Sure, the house’s signature exposed seams and trompe l’oeil prints look incredible — when made from pricey Italian fabrics.
“A reconstructed coat that appears to be made from two different vintage pieces is only luxurious through its use of fine materials,” sniffs retailer and MMM collector Shawn Lisle. “Otherwise, it just looks shoddy.”
But perhaps the biggest hurdle for H&M is that the label is largely unknown to broad swaths of the retail public. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that many only know the label through Kanye West, who gives it a shout-out in his hit “N - - - - s in Paris,” rapping “What’s drugs, my dealer? What’s that jacket, Margiela?”
But while it’s not a household label-whore name like past H&M collaborators Stella McCartney and Roberto Cavalli, the retailer insists its customers will buy.
“This collaboration will prove that fashion is not a matter of price,” maintains company spokeswoman Jennifer Ward.
And style snobs be damned, she may have a point.
“The Internet has widened the scope of awareness and enthusiasm about fashion,” says Newell-Hanson of the increasingly style-savvy public.
Not only that, the Barneys-and-Bergdorf set isn’t above stepping inside the retail behemoth to get in on the action.
“MMM has a loyal, die-hard fan base that will buy it by the armful!” adds Newell-Hanson.
Read complete article here.
|The puffer coat gets a new spin — it's a snuggly blanket. Maison Martin Margiela |
for H&M duvet coat, $349, mirrored leggings, $39.99, and plexi wedges, $299,
all at H&M. (Photo courtesy of New York Post)
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