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Collector vintage textiles hit the catwalk

Jan 24, 2014, 4:21 AM EST
Looks from Maison Martin Margiela Artisanal's Spring 2014 Couture collection
(Kristy Sparow/Getty Images)

The world of interiors exteriorized on couture garments. That was the latest concept presented by Maison Martin Margiela for its "Artisanal" line, based on its philosophy of resurrecting vintage finds and presenting them in a new light, and stating the number of hours it took to do so.

The main ingredient here was vintage collector fabrics, tapestries and prints by iconic designers and artists, mainly sourced from private estates. And with “Decorum: Carpets and Tapestries by Artists” entering its final days at Paris’s Museum of Modern Art, it felt right on the money. 

The process was very much on display, as usual, with panels of two variations of “design 706” fabrics by Frank Lloyd Wright lightly mounted onto a black couture corset and skirt, leaving half of the foundations exposed. While a colorful bustier dress a couple of outings along looked as though the model had pulled a roll of fabric around herself and hit the runway, DIY-style. Not just any old fabric, though, the draping in question was from two hanging textile prints of Mira Lunar designed by Verner Panton in 1979.

“Real clothes” (relatively speaking) soon entered the equation, like a crop top honed from an assemblage of kitsch tattoo embroideries based on designs by Sailor Jerry (circa 1950). For the bottoms, men’s pants in colored deckchair stripes had been completely embroidered with sequins, which looked beautiful. As did a coat cut from the tapestry D’Etoile by Jean Lurcat(circa 1950). 

As one mighty impressive feat of tailoring — a peacoat cut from a thick tapestry based on Paul Gauguin’s La Femme du Roi — sauntered by there was a disorientating sense of being lost between eras, accentuated by the faceless models in creepy black veils with wide-set embroidered eyes. The addition of silver wigs crafted from random bits and bobs like buttons, keys and paperclips made them look like Sci-Fi mummies. For art and design lovers, this was a dream collection, though, pairing rare works of design with unique creations that, for sure, nobody else in the room will be wearing.

-- Katya Foreman