Recently, Maison Margiela unveiled a website redesign in collaboration with Nick Knight at Showstudio. The new design, brought to life by the International Magic design studio, is centered around the idea of movement and leaves behind the standard classic static shot of models, shown from the front and the back, in favor of something more romantic that captures the essence of the Maison.
“The online presence of fashion houses can feel cold, detached, and transactional,” John Galliano, the Maison’s creative director, explained via email. “So much of our grammar at the Maison is founded in movement: dressing in haste, work in progress, the bourgeois gesture. These terms all denote artisanal techniques based on freeze-framing movements and shrugs in the construction of garments. Maison Margiela was always rooted in the character imprinted in clothes from wear, tear, and movement. That’s what gives them life and meaning. So, when it comes to the way we present our collections—not just on a runway or a stage but in a place of commerce—movement is key.”
The models, photographed by Britt Lloyd, are presented in a perpetual state of motion: twirling, stomping, showing off the way wide-leg trousers billow and delicate slip dresses hug the curves of the body. For Knight, it is a natural progression of the work he and Showstudio have been doing with Margiela, like the fall 2020 Artisanal collection, for which he worked on a film that captured the Margiela team’s creative process during early lockdown. “The [website] is probably the most exciting frontier in fashion at the moment,” Knight said via Zoom from his London studio. “There are different sorts of fashion frontiers: the catwalk show, the advertising campaign, the magazine, the retail shop… but the site is actually the most important because it’s [where] everybody interacts with the product, and experiences it and buys it.”
The website allows visitors to experience all facets of the Margiela brands in an inclusive tone. Viewers are invited to watch the film from the latest Artisanal collection, and the text underneath explains, “Artisanal is the term used by Maison Margiela for its haute couture collections,” and immediately after that, the film for its Co-Ed, or ready-to-wear collection, showcases how Galliano’s approach is universally represented. “In my practice at Maison Margiela, I continually build connectivity with our community,” Galliano adds. “Whether you’re visiting a physical or a digital space, you want to feel welcome in that space, you want to see and sense something you can relate to—you want to feel that you belong.” Although it is possible to search clothes through gender, on the main page visitors are encouraged to simply look through overarching categories like “shoes,” “bags,” and “coats and jackets.” Some models also wear delicate veils over their faces to further emphasize the fluidity of the garments themselves.
Just as the internet and technology are constantly changing, so will the website itself. Beyond the retail capabilities, the website will also become a source of information and education about the label’s history, including a film about the label’s icons and a documentary about Galliano’s work. “There’s so many different things that keep adding into this; the metaverse and the digital version of things are incredibly important, and John’s completely excited by all that,” Knight says. “So all these things are ongoing, all the new ways of looking, of image-making, and our relationship to each other through image and through our own self-image are really important.” He adds, “He wants clothes to feel like they have a soul, you know? Like they have emotions, which of course they do for him.”
This post was originally published on Vogue.com