martina margiela
Photograph courtesy of Dogwoof.

The Notoriously Private Martin Margiela Appears in New Documentary Based on His Career

"Martin Margiela: In His Own Words" is dropping this week.

During his entire career, which spanned more than 20 years, famed fashion designer Martin Margiela never once showed his face. He never appeared at the end of a runway show, nor has he posed for any magazines in the time since departing his house. In fact, all interviews given by the designer during his career were in the third person – he famously used “we” to reference his own inspirations and musings on his collection. Now, Margiela is finally lifting the veil, appearing in a documentary based on his incredible contribution to fashion. Martin Margiela: In His Own Words will be available to stream online from this Friday and Margiela himself – though he does not physically appear, save for a few shots of his hands – narrates part of the documentary.

Martin Margiela
Photograph courtesy of Dogwoof.

The documentary looks at Margiela’s career, from his start as Jean Paul Gaultier’s assistant to his work as creative director at Hermès and the launch of his groundbreaking eponymous label. Known for his avant-garde approach to fashion, Margiela designed 41 collections between 1988 and 2008. For the first time, the documentary reveals sketches and notes from the designer from that time.

martin margiela
Photograph courtesy of Dogwoof.

In the trailer for the documentary (which is directed by Reiner Holzemer, the man behind the 2017 Dries documentary), Margiela says, “I don’t like the idea of being a celebrity. Anonymity is very important to me. Anonymity for me was a protection. I always wanted to have my name linked to the product I created, not to the face I have.”

Other legendary fashion figures appear in the film to talk about Margiela’s profound creativity and influence, including Gaultier, Carine Roitfeld, trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort, fashion critic Cathy Horyn and fashion historian Olivier Saillard.

Speaking of his time with Margiela, Holzemer said in a statement, “Martin’s wish to explain and illustrate the philosophy and development of his work, to speak for himself after all those years was real. He does it with an incredibly unexpected humility coming from a man of such notoriety. I had to work under the condition that Martin Margiela would remain anonymous. It made no difference to me. I very quickly stopped missing his face in the frame of the camera. His hands, his movements, the admiration he has for handcraft and, most of all, the love he puts in all his creations make us feel his presence at any moment. Irony and humour are persistently present in both his person and his work. I am sure that Martin Margiela will trigger a smile on the audience’s face throughout the screening of this documentary.”

Watch the trailer below:

Martin Margiela: In His Own Words will be available to stream on Apple from Friday, April 10.

Until then, here’s five more fashion films to watch this week.