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Is Martin Margiela About to Bow Out of Fashion?

Tonight Martin Margiela will present his spring 2009 collection at Paris Fashion Week, marking the twentieth anniversary of the house. But according to rumor, it could be his last. The buzz around Paris is Margiela wants to stop designing and is looking for his successor. Eyebrows rose when the 51-year-old designer met with fellow Belgian designer Raf Simons earlier this year, when Simons was renegotiating his contract with Jil Sander. Simons has since signed to stay on at Jil Sander for another three years and did not comment on the conversation when approached by reporters yesterday.

However Suzy Menkes reports in the International Herald Tribune that two anonymous designers are in talks with Renzo Rosso, chief executive of the Diesel Group, which bought Martin Margiela’s label in 2002. She adds:

“We are very happy with Martin but for a long time he has a strong team and does not work on the collection, just on special projects,” says Rosso. Yet colleagues of the Belgian designer and those who have been close to him during the creation of a current exhibition of his work in Antwerp, Belgium, insist that is misrepresentation and that Margiela is totally involved with every detail in the house that he built.

A famous recluse, Margiela won’t answer questions from reporters. So if the rumors are true, who will helm Margiela? And will they finally give the label a face by doing things like bowing after shows and talking to reporters? Wouldn’t it be kind of cool if Rosso et al left it all a secret and no one ever knew who replaced him?

Martin Margiela to Exit Margiela? [NYT]
In the wake of the ‘venerables,’ will young designers stay the course? [IHT]

Is Martin Margiela About to Bow Out of Fashion?