Last Fashion Week, editors raised their prosecco glasses at the news of a collaboration between Opening Ceremony, purveyors of downtown cool, and MM6 Maison Martin Margiela, the sister brand to the main label created by enigmatic fashion rock star Martin Margiela. The collection, which hit stores last week, is completely in line with Maison’s heady design philosophy, including the “idea of recuperation, transformation and reinterpretation.”
Translation: The line consists of 20 separates — with a twist. Based on a three-in-one concept, most items play double duty, expanding your wardrobe without adding more clutter. Unfasten the lining of a jacket and you have another; with a slight tug, boots can be worn as knee-highs or ankle.
We sat down with Humberto Leon, co-founder of Opening Ceremony, and Renzo Rosso, president of Only the Brave (who in 2002 became a majority shareholder of Maison Martin Margiela) to find out how your new travel wardrobe came together.
Whose genius idea was it for this collaboration?
Leon: “I approached them saying I wanted to work on something with the Maison. We do this thing where we feature countries every year, and we decided to feature France. The Maison is based in Paris and it seemed like a perfect fit. I had talked to Renzo and he said to me, ‘If we do this, let’s do it really special.’ In the end, I feel we did something really special. And it was a year in the making — we had really thought this through.”
Rosso: “Me, I’m very passionate and I was in [Opening Ceremony], and I saw what they were doing and I said, ‘Wow that’s great.’ It started with this guy.”
How exactly did the creative process work?
Rosso: “We give it to our designers, the input, of what we wanted to do, they came up with the design. After, we showed it to the Opening Ceremony people and they put their own vision. They said, ‘This is not good, this can be fantastic.’ It was really two teams working together and I think this is why the result is very unique.”
Leon: “They came to us and said, ‘What do you love about MM6?’ and we gave them all the key points.”
Leon: “I think this idea of transformation, this idea of the item being more than what it actually is. I think the Maison is always very intellectual, but in a very beautiful way. We wanted to celebrate all of those different points.”
Rosso: “And we chose MM6 because the line is more open, more friendly, more unique and very wearable. We wanted to give MM6 visibility so it becomes more well known. With the 6 also we can [show] the wearability of Margiela with Opening Ceremony.
What are your favorite pieces?
Leon: “The outerwear is my favorite. It’s so versatile. We are presenting it for the fall collection, but I think you can wear this all year. I think there is something so special about having clothing that is so multipurpose; I feel if you pack one piece, you could have four outfits. For traveling, that’s amazing. It feels really modern.”
Rosso: “The jacket is so beautiful, but the whole collection is terrific.”
Is this a one-time romance or are you guys going to keep it going?
Leon: “I think this is the beginning of something.”
Rosso: “Now that it’s so beautiful, let’s see.”
Leon on collaborating
You’ve done a lot of collaborations. Has this been the most intense?
“With this one, the challenge that was so exciting for me was I wanted every piece to be as exciting as the next. And I wanted each piece to have value. In my mind, when I buy a Margiela piece that’s what it means to me — it’s the value of each garment. I think when you look at this collection, each piece has that value.”