The Lookbook for H&M’s upcoming collaboration with Maison Martin Margiela has arrived, and has already been seen on paragons of style Kanye West and Sarah Jessica Parker. The 104 piece collection is comprised of carefully chosen pieces from Margiela’s 23 year history, and aims to create modern and accessible classics with iconic archive pieces.
Admirers of Margiela womenswear cannot be disappointed – all of the trademarks are there – the muted colour palette accented with red; androgynous tailoring; atypical proportion. Most importantly though are the distinctive hallmarks of deconstruction and reconstruction.
The men’s collection includes pieces that are perfect for a classic winter look, and features the hallmarks of sharp tailoring, deconstruction and reconstruction, all with a subtle nod towards seventies swagger, made most clear by the three piece camel suit. Most impressively, some pieces, like the belt jacket, are equally as bold as womenswear – a rarity for high street collaborations.
It is hard to pick out the standout pieces, when a driving ethos of the designer in discussion is non-conformist individuality, but here goes – sorry Martin. The red dress, like numerous other pieces, is effortlessly chic and minimalist. Team it with the red Perspex wedged court shoe for head-to-toe Margiela style. Androgyny is an essential part of the Margiela aesthetic, demonstrated since 1988 and most recently by the hard-hitting pieces from the AW12 womenswear collection. Buy the oversized trousers and pair them with the tailored jacket for true Margiela devotion.
As well as experimenting with a masculine silhouette, Margiela frequently edges towards the avant-garde, with a focus on atypical proportion. It is hard to find a past collection without an overly slouchy knit, and a defiantly wide trouser, but it must be observed that the clothing is never overbearing, unwearable or inaccessible. The Margiela wearer is, without doubt, one of the most astutely self-assured. The H&M collection offers several wide trousers and oversized knits; I suggest the cream turtleneck for simple comfy-chic, or the iconic duvet coat for the avant-gardist (or the cold).
Replication is another essential characteristic of Margiela- the Maison has a division devoted to reviving the old, reconstructing the forgotten and loading pieces with narrative weight. The H&M collection includes a re-edition of the iconic scarf jumper – made entirely from football scarves – originally shown in the SS05 menswear collection. Perfect for a less obvious take on the festive knit, and no doubt better than the acrylic number your grandma just loves to gift.
The team at Margiela not only reconstruct, they deconstruct, going against fashion norms in doing so. In the SS12 womenswear show, the first model turned the corner clutching her dress to her chest, with people whispering ‘Did they forget the straps!?’. For men, the shearling jacket will keep you warm for winters to come, whilst marrying a timeless classic with deconstructive edge. For women, the darted jumper subtly discloses a wearer in the know.
The team at Margiela promised that, with their H&M collection, they would “bring together the contrasting universes of the two houses in ways that will surprise all.” Unfortunately, the re-editions of past collections have no element of surprise, but this is redeemed by the undeniable fact that they are spectacular re-editions, which make the Margiela aesthetic accessible to the more financially limited admirer. Usually disappointed with H&M collaborations I, for the first time, will be eagerly waiting come November 15th for an affordable slice of the ‘illustrious cult label’. Let’s hope that the fabrics and quality of the construction live up to the sensational look-book.