Martin Margiela

TREASURE TROVE: As prices for vintage soar, demand for one designer’s work shows no sign of flagging: Sotheby’s Paris said Tuesday that it would hold an exhibition and online auction this fall dedicated to Martin Margiela.

Nearly 220 items of clothing and accessories from a private collection will go under the hammer between Sept. 19 and Oct. 1. Among the top lots is a men’s vest assembled from playing cards from Maison Martin Margiela’s Artisanal collection. One of only five of its kind, it is estimated to fetch between 8,000 euros and 10,000 euros.

A waistcoat made with playing cards from Maison Martin Margiela's spring 2006 Artisanal collection.

A waistcoat made with playing cards from Maison Martin Margiela’s spring 2006 Artisanal collection.  Courtesy

Among the other rare items offered for sale are down coats from fall 1999, a linen jacket from the Stockman collection of spring 1997, and a top made of bow ties, also from the Artisanal line. The items will be on show from Sept. 20 to 25, coinciding with Paris Fashion Week.

Coming on the heels of two major Paris retrospectives last year — at the Palais Galliera fashion museum and Les Arts Décoratifs — the sale coincides with a double anniversary: the birth of Maison Martin Margiela in 1989 and the departure of its reclusive founder in 2009.

This year should also see the release of “Martin Margiela in His Own Words,” a documentary about the secretive designer directed by Reiner Holzemer.

An Artcurial sale of around 270 lots of vintage Margiela in March raised close to $275,000, twice the presale estimate, with foreign buyers accounting for 80 percent of the sales. Japanese buyers in particular are fans of Margiela’s cerebral approach to design, based on a slow fashion philosophy and a commitment to upcycling.

The top selling item in that auction was a plastic dress from the fall 1992 line, made from a transparent garment dust-cover taped with adhesive on an oversize dressmakers’ form. Virtually unwearable, it sold for $26,662, more than 10 times its presale estimate, while a striped sweater dress went for $13,310.

A long duvet coat from Maison Martin Margiela's fall 1999 collection with a pair of silver painted jeans.

A long duvet coat from Maison Martin Margiela’s fall 1999 collection with a pair of silver painted jeans.  Courtesy

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