first collaboration with the maison: fall–winter 1994–1995
how did you first get introduced to MMM?
via minouche cooremans, via sophie pay, via jenny meirens
27, quai au foin, brussels. a drinks party i hosted with minouche cooremans at my flat, late summer 1993. the party was held for all those travelling to minouche and paddy mcguire’s wedding. sophie pay, a friend of minouche’s sister and daughter of jenny meirens, co-founder of maison martin margiela, came along to boost the brussels representation amid all of the foreigners. sophie ended up in trouble with me! she took a cassette recorder to my bedroom to organise an alternative party and at quite a high decible level at that! fearing the reactions of my rather fierce neighbours i ended up playing sergeant-major insisting she switch off the music and return to the fray. the next day, at the wedding reception, i was seated beside jenny. minouche had been trying to have us meet for years and had finally succeeded. our conversation got off to a racing start. our vivid exchange on the fashion industry’s treatment of young designers cast us immediately to opposing sides of the debate. leaving the table and multiple empty wine bottles after the meal, agreeing to disagree, we each joined our separate group of friends amongst the crowd. as morning approached and the dancing crowd dwindled i had a tap on my shoulder. it was jenny reminding me of our pact to one day work on a book on the fashion industry together… the beginning of a long, complex and fulfilling friendship with sophie and jenny and relationship with the house!
what were you doing at that time/where were you living then?
living and working in brussels, a city i loved and love, writing for my crust… copywriting, catalogues, speeches… my life.
what did we do together?
i got a call from sophie in february 1994 to see if i was free to help on the sales of the collection – they needed an english speaker. i came to paris for two weeks for the sales. the first afternoon involved a meeting in the 18th arrondissement, passage ruelle. a meeting of pale faced and stressed people, all in white coats, all seated around a white table in a bare white room! the plans dealt out by jenny, the mistress of ceremonies, were unflinchingly military in their precision. all might well have been double-dutch for all i understood. i wasn’t at all sure what to make of it, them, that white place! a second army of people on the ground floor of this industrial hangar running frenetically around placing transparent plastic bags over the heads of many, many shop dummies and obscuring their eyes with black gaffer tape did nothing to calm the rising disquiet within me. these people were either missing something radical or were ON something radical!
as for the sales, my reason to be there, i was quickly convinced that i was probably one of the best sellers of the collection they ever had. they were lucky to have me! the wry rise of axel keller’s eyebrow any time i mentioned this over the following year led me to believe that nothing could have been further than the truth. apparently, i had been pathetic – couldn’t sell a dress in lining fabric – albeit a margiela one – to save my life! oh well! yet, unbeknownst to me, all was not lost for my future with maison martin margiela…
a few weeks later the phone rang, jenny meirens again, calling to see if i wouldn’t help out for the upcoming project of a presentation of the collection at nine shops around the world in september 1994. the presentation would show the collection to the press and the clients of the fashions stores at the same time – they might need a hand to explain this to many who would probably take the news rather badly! “could i come to help out for three months?” intrigued, i accepted. i agreed to help out,… 3 months became 6, 6 then 9, … and… 10 years later i am still here!
where do you live now?
paris, paris, paris. beautiful yet distant.
a magazine curated by martin margiela
note: we do miss patrick scallon, former director of communications for the maison. hope he is doing well at dries van noten.
3:01 AM on Friday 15th June 2012 with 41 notes