"It was fashion in its most honest form."
Martin Margiela is a fan of anonymity. He didn't involve himself with press and he would mask his models to varying degrees in every show. This was said to place emphasis on the garments, rather than the wearer; but funnily enough, this began due to not being able to afford photo rights to his models. Alison Chernick's "The Artist Is Absent," is a lovely 12-minute ode to the pure genius of Margiela, a true master of deconstruction and reconstruction.
When we think Margiela, we think of his signature split-toe boot, the tabi. It's attracted quite the cult following and it still seems to turn heads. What we love about the tabi is how it elicits an emotional response in the viewer. People really either love it or hate it. Maybe it's too edgy for some and maybe that's the appeal for others…its avant-garde freakiness. They're certainly like no other shoe. It evokes feeling and that in itself is quite refreshing.
We've seen the tabi evolve quite a bit; the above picture (from AnOther Mag) dates back to '95, but the first tabi appeared as part of Margiela's very first collection in '89 (with the model walking through red paint!).