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 19 Nick Wakeman Creating a menswear-inspired line for women, Nick Wakeman welcomes the challenges arising from forging new aesthetic territories. Fashion Issue 19 Camille Tanoh Camille Tanoh found his niche working for Pierre Hardy and Paul Smith. Now he’s blazing a path for the next generation of French designers. Fashion Issue 19 The Heat of the Moment Wide eyes, tense muscles, goose-bumped skin and sweat-dotted brows. Fashion Issue 19 On Courage The English word “courage” comes from the Latin term “cor,” meaning “heart", yet we often assign this virtue to acts of mere physical fortitude. Fashion Issue 19 This Tall to Ride Amusement parks offer us a taste of danger as sweet as cotton candy. Fashion Issue 19 Keeping Tempo: Henrik Vibskov From creating outlandish fashion shows to drumming in several bands, Henrik Vibskov keeps things unpredictable with his freestyle approach.