MM6, Maison Margiela's diffusion line, should need no introduction, but here's one anyway, just so you definitely know:
Founded in 1988 by Belgian-born Saint-Martin’s graduate Martin Margiela and Jenny Meirens, it was (and perhaps still is) a nonconformist anti-fashion-establishment approach to clothing and style. ‘Deconstructed’ is used quite readily these days to describe the way a garment is made or fits but back in the 80s Martin Margiela pioneered not only deconstructed materials and cuts (he was Jean-Paul Gautier’s design assistant for three years) but how a design house conducted itself within the establishment. Margiela moved outside the boundaries, an anarchic response to an era where conservative ‘power-dressing’ was stifling creativity. The industry is still heavily influenced by the irreverence Margiela demonstrated with photography, marketing, PR and design.
Quoted as saying that fashion is “a series of propositions” Margiela altered the notion of catwalk shows, making them more like art installations with models faces covered up or disguised. Margiela himself refused to appear after a show or on camera and conducted interviews with the entire design team over the phone or by fax, putting emphasis on the ‘we’, something that is incredibly refreshing in the egocentric and sycophantic world of fashion. This anonymity reflects Margiela’s more altruistic view of clothing design, something which can be seen in the eclecticism of the Margiela’s productions and also the ‘branding’, simple, sparingly stitched labels in the back of the garment with a number referencing the line and no logo.
In 1997 Margiela launched a line of ready-to-wear pieces that were more acceptable for, say, wearing at the office or on the bus. Labelled simply as line 6, (under the product range 0 to 23 on the famous white labels) and renamed to MM6 in 2004, the diffusion line is ever prominent nearly twenty years later.
MM6 was once described by Renzo Rosso as "a little more accessible, a little less intellectual" than its main line. Accessible yes, and easier on the pocket, but the case for it being less intellectual is arguable. The line is more basic then the avant-garde aesthetic Margiela is known for, however it's still smart in terms of design and still feeds off that energy.
Even if it's not under the control of its pioneering founder anymore (John Galliano taking over as creative director in October 2014 after Margiela bowed out in 2009) MM6 is a more restrained version of the nonconformist couture pieces Margiela is famed for, but still holding that sense of anarchy and a punk approach to design that says “f*ck the establishment”.