>> For the better part of a year, rumors of Martin Margiela's withdrawal from his label have plagued the industry. In October, majority owner Renzo Rosso finally confirmed that Margiela was no longer involved in design and later said he was about to name a replacement.
It seems Rosso has changed his mind: Giovanni Pungetti, chief executive of Maison Martin Margiela, said today that the designer has quietly left the comapny and will not be replaced. The fashion house, which had in the past offered his job to Haider Ackermann and Raf Simons, will continue to operate with the creative staff, 28-strong, that Margiela developed over his 20-year stint. According to Pungetti: “It would have been very simple to hire someone else, and we evaluated that option, but in the end, what is important is the taste of designer."
What spurred the departure? »
Pungetti confirmed that Margiela's appearances in the studio had been sporadic over the past two years, but it wasn't as a result of a falling out with Rosso, as some rumors perpetuated. He simply, after 20 years, decided to walk away.
As Suzy Menkes points out, the move to use a group over the typical one-person appointment could be a turning point in the way fashion houses are run, if successful. "If the Margiela brand remains vibrant and vital without one creative force — and only time will tell if the image is fading — the Margiela initiative will be studied by the many historic brands trying to stay relevant in the 21st century."