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August 1 2014

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Is It Time To Celebrate, Not Lament, Fashion’s Revolving Door?

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How much does it matter who's behind the Margiela mask?The rumor mill is churning again today, with a choice bit of unconfirmed gossip: Wags are wondering if London designer Marios Schwab isn’t lending a hand to the famously anonymous Maison Martin Margiela. Margiela himself exited the company in 2009, and ever since there have been rumors and reports of other designers—most recently former Céline hand Ivana Omazic—guiding the design team. The Margiela team’s only comment was that it does not communicate on who its designers are, and, in the words of WWD, “characterizing its studio as a creative collective with members of long standing that it feeds regularly with new contributors.”

While the impetus to unmask single design geniuses is an understandable one, it may be a model that’s falling out of date. It begs the question: Should we always have one designer to point to, or is a more team-spirited approach the better way? Certainly Margiela has been on an upswing these last few seasons.

The Maison is not alone in adopting, happily, a revolving door mentality. When Christopher Kane left Versus, Donatella Versace opted not to hire a single designer in his place, but to invite a series of guests to try their hands. (First up, J.W. Anderson; second, M.I.A.) And in a recent editorial on the fate of Jil Sander after the departure (again) of Jil Sander, Cathy Horyn wondered aloud if the best practice wouldn’t be to build a strong design team. It’s not hard to imagine that being refreshed with new talent as talent arrives.

Something to think about, as several large houses—from Louis Vuitton to Sander—go, for the moment, without single stewards.

Photo: Gianni Pucci / InDigital | GoRunway

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