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20-05-2008
  1
botanizing on the asphalt
 
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Sartorial by Maison Martin Margiela
{from Men's Vogue}

The long taciturn design collective Maison Martin Margiela nudges its new creation--Sartorial--into the spotlight. By Sara James

May 2008

The name Martin Margiela might not mean anything to you, but that's precisely the designer's intention. The man who has been called "the J.D. Salinger of the fashion world" does not grant interviews or allow himself to be photographed. Nor does he permit the 75 full-time employees in his design collective, Maison Martin Margiela, to speak publicly about the brand, which will quietly celebrate its twentieth anniversary in October. (On the corporate front, chief executive officer Giovanni Pungetti has been public enough about its plans to take global sales to $100 million.) The physical Margiela label is also discreet, even cryptic: just three rows of numbers, from zero to 23, with the "10" circled if the garment is part of the splashy avant-garde line or the "14" if it's a conservative piece from the "wardrobe" collection meant to furnish men with things they can wear for the rest of their lives.

Now, for the first time, the words "Maison Martin Margiela" will be stitched in gold embroidery into 12 items in a capsule line, Sartorial, which is launching this summer under the "14" umbrella. The idea is to resuscitate vanishing old-world techniques veteran tailors were brought in to expand the capabilities of cutters and sewers. Sartorial's suit jackets contain real horsehair so they can better hold their shapes, buttons are hand-stitched, and the linings piped and bearing a tidy selection of pockets could almost be worn facing out. You have to shell out for this artistry, of course: Topcoats and suits run upward of $3,000, payable to Barneys New York or the Margiela boutiques in New York and L.A., the only spots in the U.S. where the clothes will be sold.
While the Margiela wizard may be showing a mortal toe, don't expect him to lift the entire curtain anytime soon. "It started a long time ago," the Maison collective says, today in the voice of a 30-something Frenchwoman. "He'd rather let the clothes speak for him than the other way around. And he strongly believes in teamwork. If Martin were in the spotlight, then the team would be in the shadow. We would rather all stay in the shadow and have the spotlight where it's needed on the clothes."
Some might question this strategy: You can't sell clothes if your customers don't know how to look for them. "I am familiar with the designer, but only under the guise of his numerical label," says actor Ed Stoppard, son of playwright Tom, shown here in a Sartorial suit. "It was hard to buy because you never knew what to ask for in the shop."
Currently promoting the art-house film Fugitive Pieces, about a Polish boy living in Canada just after World War II, Stoppard now has occasion to dress up. "When I'm not working, I am usually covered in half-chewed food from my three daughters," he says, adding that he "inherited half a dozen bespoke suits from my wife's uncle, Terence Stamp. I am the only person I know to own four identical single-breasted unlined linen suits in various colors, made in Rome circa 1978."
Next up for Stoppard is Liberty, Glyn Maxwell's play about the French Revolution, at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, and several other film projects, though, he notes, "since the British film business so catastrophically and cynically wasted the opportunities of the nineties by making Guy Ritchie knock-offs and films about football hooligans, financing is hard to come by."
Margiela is still experimenting with putting his name out there, but Stoppard has long since come to terms with wearing his. "It's neither particularly helped nor hindered," he figures. "It has led to me putting an unhealthy amount of pressure on myself. Whether that has to do with being a Stoppard or being mercilessly bullied by my elder brother as a child, I'm still not sure."

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20-05-2008
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botanizing on the asphalt
 
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Stoppard favors vintage bespoke but gives a Sartorial suit, $2,995, high praise. (Photo: Gareth McConnell)

{mensvogue}

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21-05-2008
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i dunno....i'm not a big suit freak,myself(i would rather pay that almost 3k for something from artisanal )but knowing MMM's tailoring and his sense of craftsmanship,this might be a nice thing.

thank you laika for retrieving this....interesting news indeed

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21-05-2008
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Swim Upstream
 
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thx laika.....scott i guess some people require to wear suits for their jobs and this may be something that appeals...although there are plenty of amazingly sharp saville row tailors producing some fantasic suits at the moment.......

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21-05-2008
  5
Stitch:the Hand
 
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^you're right. and for those perhaps with a taste level that leans that way,this would be an interesting direction.

btw,what exactly is so discerning about him remaining in the shadows? i don't think,for intelligent fashion buyers,a face really amounts to the importance of purchasing a garment. and his clothes do have an identifiable label. if you don't know how to look,you musn't really know his work that much,afterall....

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01-06-2008
  6
flaunt the imperfection
 
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thanks laika...

it's funny.
i never realized that the margiela name is really NOwhere...
:p

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