Martin Margiela spring / summer 1997
“Margiela drops the original brand name, leaving only the inscription “semi-couture.” Semi-couture translates as “almost like haute couture” or “as if tailored,” i.e somewhere in between ready-to-wear and haute couture. These days, almost every designer makes semi-couture because it costs only a fraction of haute couture to produce.
The many meanings of semi-couture are worth following up, because it teaches us a lot about Margiela’s other interests. To surrealists like Dalí and Man Ray, the dummy formed the ultimate fetishisation of the naked female body, and all Surrealists thought themselves as inventive as Pygmalion. They dressed and photographed mannequins profusely, and decorated them with the strongest of objects. They often posed and photographed models as living dummies, nearly always in sexual allusions, in Man Ray’s living, female Coat Stand from 1920.”
— Chris Dercon on Maison Martin Margiela, Semi-Couture