By and  on September 9, 1994

NEW YORK -- Oh, the fervent anticipation. News had come that the lofty fashion god Martin Margiela would unveil his fall collection Wednesday evening at seven boutiques around the world -- including Charivari 57 here -- and make a surprise appearance at one. The now-renowned invitation read: "Presentation 7:00 - 7:05 p.m. Reception 7:05 - 8:30."

After Margiela was spotted browsing through the Mme. Gres exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Tuesday, intuitive minds figured, hey, he'll be at Charivari tomorrow, 7 p.m. sharp. Never mind that he had refused to see many editors in Paris six months ago when all those lesser design talents showed their collections. This would be five minutes of fashion at its most cerebral -- definitely worth the cab ride, even if fall's editorial calendar rolled along quite nicely without him. This was to be an event, complete with an allegedly limited guest list. "He doesn't want a lot of people there," said one young editor. "Just the right people."

When the Right People -- stylists, editors and other sundry victims -- arrived, they learned that the "presentation" would take place in the store's window, so most just hung out on the sidewalk and waited. "Maybe this is the event -- getting us all to stand out here like idiots," said one observer. By the time the paper curtain was torn away at 7:22, the crowd was heavily peppered with crashers, and perhaps 15 people actually got a good look at the goings-on in the window. "I don't have to see the clothes," said a voice in the crowd. "I bought some last year."

Prophetic words, since a few of the 12 outfits Margiela showed were "signatures" from past seasons. Some of the others merely looked as if they were, although most were quite beautiful. Margiela showed them on "real women" including stylist Misha Calloway, fashion editor Evyan Metzner and her mother, photographer Sheila Metzner. They stood in a semicircle, their eyes taped shut with silver tape, for about five minutes.

Finally, the crowd started to move into the store. The Deity stood in a tight white T-shirt, white jeans and black cap, studiously talking to his friends and ignoring the crowd. He shoved his hand at one photographer who nonetheless managed to snap a photograph, and then rushed off, pushing people aside in an effort to get to the models.

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