Hermès, Autumn-Winter 2003-04, long open-back dress with long skirt and tuxedo belt, all in Ottoman silk, pumps in suede. Hermès, Autumn-Winter 2003-04, coat with lapel collar in wool, cashmere and camel hair, with removable sleeves of a sweater that can be worn as a hooded scarf, and high-neck pullover, both in cashmere and silk. When Martin Margiela started his eponymous line in the late ’80s, he shocked the fashion world with his iconoclastic vision. An identical shock occurred in the fashion world in 1997 when he was chosen to be the artistic director of Hermès’ women’s ready-to-wear collection. With a history stretching back 150 years, Hermès was known for its more traditional outlook. Many people predicted that Hermès’ conservative style could not mesh with Margiela’s offbeat ethos, and that Margiela’s influence would wane. Instead, what followed was a resurgence of the iconic Parisian house. Rather than merely applying his deconstructivist philosophy to Hermès’ designs, Margiela added his insight into how to design for women. Until he left in 2003, his collections showcased his belief in designing to maximize ease, comfort, quality and timelessness. Now an exhibition celebrating Martin Margiela’s years at Hermès is open in Antwerp, Belgium—the city in which Margiela honed his skills as a designer at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Accompanying the exhibition is a book, aptly titled Margiela: The Hermès Years, in which key figures throughout Margiela’s career, including Suzy Menkes, Patrick Scallon and Jenny Meirens, discuss his time at Hermès. In the book, when touching on the enigma that is Margiela, Olivier Zahm says, “His poetry is unpredictable, never artificial and over the top or extravagant, but instead his work delves into the nature of elegance, comfort, and what it means to be a woman.” — The exhibition Margiela: The Hermès Years is on display until August 27, 2017. Mode Museum Antwerp Nationalestraat 28 2000 Antwerp Belgium The book Margiela, The Hermès Years is available now, published by Lannoo. TwitterFacebookPinterest The book Margiela, The Hermès Years is available now, published by Lannoo. Related Stories Fashion Issue 46 Home Free The upside of downtime on a slow Sunday afternoon. Fashion Issue 46 Charles de Vilmorin Wild. Weird. Wearable: Meet the couture protégé challenging the norms of French fashion. Arts & Culture Fashion Issue 46 Emanuele Coccia An interview with fashion’s favorite philosopher. Fashion Issue 44 Under the Sun Far niente, on the faraway island of Alicudi. Design Fashion Issue 44 Michelle Elie An audience with an audacious dresser. Fashion Films Issue 44 Wardrobe Malfunction Why does the fashion in films so often disappoint?