Maison Martin Margiela (Oct,2001)
INTERVIEW: Why does Paris equal fashion?
MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA: At this stage, its the inertia that this town has amassed over the years. An inertia that draws creativity and those attracted to it into its core. Yet Paris is not essentially different from any other great city "of personality" ... it stands as itself in much the same way as New York, London, etc. Almost a "brand," its "branding" is of a town that embraces a more individualistic creative expression. Those wishing to begin in fashion tend to start and show here because of the concentration of fashion professionals passing through town throughout the year (that inertia again!).
I: Does Paris equal fashion?
MMM: Visitors to Paris will have a much different view on this than those working and living here! Within our profession this is especially true. During the collections and for their duration, for those who are the fashion whirlwind that hits town, Paris can equal Fashion, albeit a specific viewpoint.
I: What difference is there working in Paris as opposed to, say, Belgium or New York?
MMM: When one is ensconced in one's work it can be all too easy to take one's surroundings for granted, no matter where one lives! Paris has many down-to-earth practical advantages for a fashion company established here. As with all other places, there is also a price to pay for this. A lack of direct experience of working in other places leaves us incapable of drawing direct comparisons with Belgium and New York.
I: Why has Paris been so important in the history of fashion--in fact, is it important?
MMM: The wealth of individual talents that it has brought onto itself down through the years. It is as if they have all left something of themselves in Paris, a skill, a vision, a memory ... offered stones, bricks, or even blocks towards the construction of Paris as a "fashion" city.
I: In Paris, is fashion: a) in the air?
MMM: It can be, though it varies--the locations and moments are selective!
I: b) Is it in the water?
MMM: Bottled or tap?
I: c) The tailors?
MMM: Yes, though not exclusively Parisian.
I: d) The craftsmen?
MMM: Ditto for c).
I: e) Is it in the memory?
MMM: Yes, past and recent and not in a moribund way. Paris radiates its own personality in its way, as the other fashion capitals do theirs.
I: f) The consciousness?
MMM: Of some, and often.
I: Do you think that Paris is especially alive right now? And if not, is there a place that you think is very dynamic in this moment? Or is it really all in our minds, anyway?
MMM: We feel that there is a reawakening in Paris on many creative levels: music, art, fashion, etc. The wheel continues to turn and this cycle seems to be bringing Paris through a particularly furtive period again. We are unsure as to whether these elements are reawakening in concert or individually! Is it a "wave" or sheer happenstance?!
I: Do you have a story--any story--that you want to tell us about Paris and fashion?
MMM: We decided to set up shop in Paris 13 years ago and after 25 Martin Margiela collections for women, seven "10" collections (our men's line), as well as seven collections for the women's ready-to-wear line for our colleagues at Hermes, we are still here, growing and learning along the way. And all of this, for better or worse, in sickness and in health! ... a team, glad to be here, to be given the opportunity to continue doing what we love, surrounded by the gifts and talents of all our colleagues in the industry in general, and at Hermes in particular and by Paris this city!
Martin Margiela is the Designer for Hermes women's ready-to-wear and the co-Founder and creative Director of Maison Martin Margiela.
Interview credit: Interview magazine
Image credit: sonnyphotos