The Meaning of Maison Margiela’s Magic Numbers

The Meaning of Maison Margiela’s Magic Numbers

French fashion house, Maison Margiela, appears to be nothing short of the term unconventional. Founded by Belgian designer Martin Margiela in 1988 and based in Paris, the eponymous label celebrates unorthodox aesthetics and deconstructive designs, looking at fashion as a means for artistic expression and discussion, rather than a cult for personality. Margiela’s approach to fashion is analytical. His use of colour (or lack-there-of) is symbolic to the mystery of the meaning behind his designs. White is the pre-eminent colour used at Maison Margiela, seen as a blank space to fill. During the span of his career, Margiela bought elements of identity and anonymity to his namesake label, having rarely conducted interviews or shown his face. Margiela wished to remain entirely anonymous, a theme that carried through onto his designs. With his clothes initially featuring no branding or tags, he later introduced plain white tags held by four stitches at each corner to his garments, an unusually different component from the typical tags placed on clothes.

Martin Margiela. Photo: Grailed

In 1997, Margiela introduced an updated version of the tags to feature numbers ranging from 0-23 arranged in 3 rows, for the functional purpose of indicating which collection the garment belongs to. In a 2010 interview, Margiela stated that the tags were “meant to be cut off so the garment would be without a label and logo”. Even on his runways, the faces of models would be covered so that the audience would focus on the clothes, instead of who wore or created them. But let’s explore a small synopsis to the significance behind the numbers on the tags, in more detail, at Maison Margiela. Here is the cheat sheet:


0 Artisanal

The Artisanal collection pieces were made for both men and women and represented freedom of form by the silhouettes of the designs, beginning in 1988 at the very birth of the brand and coming to an end in production in 2006.


1 Women’s Collection

“1 is the collection in which Maison Margiela expresses its love for concept, design and process, for creativity and the avant-garde.”

3 Fragrances

Introduced in 2010 and produced in association with L'Oréal's Luxury Products Division.


4 Women’s Garderobe 

The women’s garderobe line consist essentially of basics presented for the first time in the SS04 collection.


6 MM6

A diffusion line consisting of clothes, shoes and accessories for women. It was established in 1997 but later rebranded as the infamous MM6 in 2004.


MM6 ‘Japanese’ bag collection campaign. Photo: United Arrows LTD/Maison Margiela

8 Eyewear Collection

Margiela’s eyewear collection was first presented during SS08.


10 Men’s Collection

Equivalent to the women’s collection Line 1, established in 1998 for the SS99 collection.


11 Accessories

For both men and women, Margiela’s unisex accessories consist of bags, belts, jewellery and small leather goods. It was born into the brand in 2005.


12 Jewellery

The Maison Margiela jewellery line was made in collaboration with the Damiani Group and introduced to the brand in 2008.


14 Men’s Garderobe

The male equivalent to line 4, this collection consists of basics for men.


22 Shoes

Line 22 comprises of a selection of seasonal footwear, combined collection of lines 1 and 10 of men and women’s shoes.

Photo: NSS/Maison Margiela