"In the backyard of the [Royal Academy of Fine Arts] school was this little building, on the verge of collapsing. You would have to very carefully go over the stairs, because if you took one mis-step, you could literally push your feet through them. It was almost dangerous. So I think that the whole thing melted well together. It was the switch from the 80s to 90s, the reaction on excess with minimalism and deconstruction, the first appearance of grunge. So that feeling of romanticism, together with the history, the building and the run down corridors with the statues, it really did make a big impact on how you formed your visual language. I really think there was something quite dark and magical about it, matching perfectly the zeitgeist of the period."

— Willy Vanderperre
Maison Martin Margiela, 1997
The first solo exhibition by Maison Martin Margiela. The exhibition is held in the “glass pavillon” of the museum, built in the 1980’s, that adjoins a rose garden and a large decorative pond. Eighteen dressed dummies represent all previous Martin Margiela Collections (Spring/Summer 1989 up to Autumn/Winter 1997/98). Garments chosen from each season are specially reproduced in whites, creams and greys. A collaboration with a prominent Dutch Microbiologist Dr. A.W.S.M van Egeraat, Professor at the Wareningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands. Each outfit is treated with different strains of bacteria, yeast and mould, all isolated from the air and nurtured to provide varying colours and textures. Over the first five days of the exhibition these organisms develop on the clothes and, once their gestation period is complete, change the colour and aspect of the garments. All eighteen silhouettes remain on the exterior of the pavilion and may only be viewed from the inside through its glass structure.

Maison Martin Margiela, 1997

The first solo exhibition by Maison Martin Margiela. The exhibition is held in the “glass pavillon” of the museum, built in the 1980’s, that adjoins a rose garden and a large decorative pond. Eighteen dressed dummies represent all previous Martin Margiela Collections (Spring/Summer 1989 up to Autumn/Winter 1997/98). Garments chosen from each season are specially reproduced in whites, creams and greys. A collaboration with a prominent Dutch Microbiologist Dr. A.W.S.M van Egeraat, Professor at the Wareningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands. Each outfit is treated with different strains of bacteria, yeast and mould, all isolated from the air and nurtured to provide varying colours and textures. Over the first five days of the exhibition these organisms develop on the clothes and, once their gestation period is complete, change the colour and aspect of the garments. All eighteen silhouettes remain on the exterior of the pavilion and may only be viewed from the inside through its glass structure.


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