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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Maison Martin Margiela 20 at Somerset House

The epic exhibition comes to Somerset House this Summer following successful stops in Antwerp and Munich, to celebrate two decades of Maison Martin Margiela

Written by Matt Bramford


Illustration by Donna McKenzie

Regular readers of Amelia’s Magazine will know that we covered the Maison Martin Margiela 20 exhibition last March, order when it showed in fashion capital Antwerp.

But, try since it’s moved to our very own fashion capital, we thought we’d have another look, and get some of our wonderful illustrators involved!

Somerset House is quickly becoming a fashion hot spot, with the rehoming of London Fashion Week and the recent SHOWstudio sessions. It’s clear why, too – it’s bloody beautiful.

This is the third outing for the Maison Martin Margiela exhibition, after seasons in Antwerp and Munich, so actually it’s the label’s 22nd anniversary this year, but who cares? I’ll use any excuse to have a poke around a fashion archive.


Illustration by Louise McLennan

The exhibition, set in Somerset House’s lower galleries and you’d be forgiven for believing, if this building wasn’t centuries old, that the space had been purpose-built for this nostalgic trip down Margiela memory lane.

All but a couple of the rooms are white-washed in typical Margiela fashion, and while the exhibition allows us to explore the history of this conceptual and inspirational label, it still give nothing away about the elusive man himself.


Illustration by Amy Martino

Instead of being a chronological or nostalgic display, the aim of this exhbition is to explore the key themes of Maison Martin Margiela, including the inspiration behind each collection and the techniques used.

So it is the quirks that have made this brand truly unique that are given most attention. We begin with a look at the anniversary catwalk show, amongst a lot of polystyrene models, whilst mooching along a row of rather battered Tabi shoes.


Illustration by Donna McKenzie

The bulk of the exhibition explores varying collections and what made them stand out alongside so many other fashion designers of the time. Flat-pack clothing, XXXL oversized pieces, painted garments, narrow tailoring, the trench coat, and the re-visioning of old garments. We also see the evolution of Margiela’s elusivity – first it was a slash of paint across a model’s face, then a blindfold, and then the infamous sunglasses (which I was so tempted to lift I had to walk around with my hands in my pockets. Damn I wish I’d bought them – what a collector’s item).


Illustration by Farzeen Jabbar

One room is devoted to archive footage, film and photographs from across the collections – the room is dark and has white lounge chairs for you to kick back and revel in some of the most iconic fashion images of the last two decades.


Illustration by Zarina Liew

Whether you like fashion or not, I’m entirely convinced that you will love this exhibition – it breaks the boundaries of typical gallery design and it is incredibly inspirational – Go See It!

You can read a full review of the Antwerp exhibition (which was exactly the same exhibition, I promise) here.

For the all important details, visit our listings section.

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One Response to “Maison Martin Margiela 20 at Somerset House”

  1. Imymemine says:

    Went last week,had a brilliant time, was so inspirational. I was the one walking around with he 6year old. He enjoyed it too. pix are here to prove it!!

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