Every cycle or two, fashion comes undone. It’s left unfinished. Decomposed. Re-assembled.
You could say it started in the late 1980s, when designer Martin Margiela introduced pieces that were deliberately undone, kicking off a wider focus on things frayed and destroyed. At the time, the Belgian designer wasn’t exactly new to the scene (he was a former assistant to Jean-Paul Gaultier), but he wasn’t popular either – and neither was the venue he chose as the backdrop to his Fall 1989 show. It was a graffiti-covered, run-down corner of Paris; the neighborhood kids were welcome to watch.
The collection seemed to embody a crafty, do-it-yourself-type of mindset. Ribbons were woven through the models’ fingers, fabrics were taped together, and seams were exposed. Men’s garments were deconstructed and resurrected as floor-length dresses. It was a major unraveling – one that would influence fashion for years to come.