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20

A multimedia exhibition spans the enigmatic career of Martin Margiela

by Richard Prime in Culture on 23 June 2010

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For a man whose enigma dictates that he is rarely seen in person—even at his own shows—Martin Margiela must be one of the most prolific designers so far this year. "20," a new show running throughout the summer at the beautiful Somerset House in London, celebrates 20 years of one of the most influential designers to have emerged from Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

Curated by the Antwerp's own Mode Musuem, which itself hosts the awesome Svart, this exhibition is dominated by the color white and its various shades and guises used by Margiela across his extensive body of work both in fashion and more recently in his design work.

Capturing Margiela's vision is no easy feat, but the Somerset House show incorporates installations, films, photography and visuals to demonstrate the deconstructivist approach so familiar to fans of the designer's work. "20" underlines the power of Margiela's artistic vision and the resulting garments, the collections and indeed the attention to detail in couture and design.

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Margiela plays an important role in the progression of fashion, from its power-dressing, dominating silhouettes of the 80s, as he developed his own visual language—one based on quality and clarity of thought, hyper-intelligent use of textiles and cutting-edge techniques.

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It's a must-see for serious fans of fashion and form, a celebration of a man of subtlety and depth who lets his work do the talking.

"20" runs until 5 September 2010.

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