The Belgian designer, who is 63, has maintained an elusive presence in the design world, becoming one of the most acclaimed names in fashion, but without ever giving an interview. No verified photograph of his face exists and he stayed backstage during runway shows. Margiela retired from fashion in 2009 and has quietly dedicated himself to making art ever since.
The former avant-garde fashion designer Martin Margiela is showing his visual art publicly for the first time with a solo exhibition in Paris.
Taking over the galleries at Lafayette Anticipations in April, the show focuses solely on Margiela’s visual art, rather than his fashion designs, including never-before-seen sculptures, paintings, and installations—in an exhibition that will become a “total artwork,” according to a statement.
“This exhibition celebrates the idea that Martin Margiela has always been an artist, whose work has played out since, within and outside the art world,” read a statement from the foundation.
Born in 1957 in Leuven, Belgium, Margiela studied art as a teenager before attending the Royal Academy of Art in Antwerp where he turned to fashion design. In his fashion career, Margiela was known for his deconstructed silhouettes and using upcycled materials. The works at Lafayette will continue to explore these aesthetic expressions, as well as broader themes of mystery, disappearance, chance, and aura.