Back in April when I tried to find out from the PR for H&M who their next collaborator would be, she was uncharacteristically coy. And no wonder. It is (drum roll) Maison Martin Margiela! I really loathe this expression but OH MY GOD!

How did they manage this???

Maison Martin Margiela is one of the most important and influential fashion houses of the past three decades. I am so excited by this collaboration, which will give fashion lovers around the world the chance to wear special pieces by Maison Martin Margiela,’ says Margareta van den Bosch, creative advisor at H&M. ‘This collaboration will be a great and memorable fashion moment’.

Indeed. Following in the footsteps of such amazing collaborations as Stella McCartney, Viktor & Rolf, Comme des Garçons, Karl Lagerfeld (we’ll pretend Madonna didn’t happen!) you have to applaud H&M for their bravery as these are not labels you’d expect to see in the same sentence as H&M.

‘We are very happy to present Maison Martin Margiela pieces with H&M, offering a new interpretation of our vision. The democracy of our fashion has always been at the centre of our creativity, and the collaboration with H&M allows us to push this instinct further. We will bring together the contrasting universes of the two houses in ways that will surprise all,’ confirms Maison Martin Margiela.

The fateful drop is on the 15th November 2012 in 230 H&M stores worldwide as well as online. Both men’s and womenswear.

Maison Martin Margiela is a French fashion house that has always followed its own path, often outside the conventional fashion framework. They’ve never advertised or tried to attain a mass-market audience. Even their labeling is indicative at needing to be in the know – you either know what those both elusive and distinctive 4 cross-stitches on the back of a jumper or shirt means or you don’t. Constantly questioning the norms of fashion and presenting its pieces through the technique of deconstruction and transformation, the collections reinvent volumes, modify shapes, change the original use and movement of garments and derail classic notions of fashion. Mr Margiela himself, 55, is widely considered to be the seventh member of the ‘Antwerp Six‘, a group who graduated from the city’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1981 and put Belgian fashion on the map. Famously publicity-shy, he is very rarely photographed, and labels his work anonymously with a chart of numbers in lieu of a tag.

The Maison Martin Margiela label was acquired by Diesel owner Renzo Rosso in 2002. In December 2009 it was publicly announced that Margiela had left the label. The position as Creative Director has at various times been offered to both Raf Simons and Haidee Ackerman but both turned it down. Despite excitement over the news about the collaboration, some are concerned about how well the avant-garde, deconstructed designs will translate in cheaper fabrics. As someone who still has her much-loved Stella McCartney for H&M blazer I am confident they will deliver. Both Stella and Viktor & Rolf – neither of them cheap mainline or renowned for using shoddy materials – produced very desirable collaborations without fudging detailing or cut. And you can still get interesting fabrics at the cheaper end of the scale.

It will be interesting to see the queue demographic – I expect it will be rather different to the Versace one! As my fashion stylist friend exclaimed, ‘It’ll be us lot!’

Yes, finally. Affordable Margiela for the eternally impoverished London style brigade. It’s like some sort of crazy dream scenario.

Bring on Thursday the 15th November…

Words by Anna Bang


H&M, Maison Martin Margiela, stella mccartney, Viktor & Rolf,