Leave it to Maison Martin Margiela to choose a dilapidated 9-storey building hidden within New York’s financial district to house the launch event for its upcoming collaboration with H&M. To say “event” is to put it simply—performance art installation/dance party/pop-up shop would explain last night a little better. Each floor of 5 Beekman Street was reimagined as some sort of exhibit, with dancers choreographed by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker making art pieces from the aftermath of dancing around on a floor covered in white sand. Elsewhere, installations by Daniel Arsham, Frederique Chauveaux and Noemie Goudal brought the Margiela collaboration pieces to life, by projecting tableaus and hand gestures right on the pieces themselves. Atop the building, a pop-up shop stocked with the Maison Martin Margiela for H&M collection was swarmed by the 1,500 guests trying to snag a purchase in advance of the re-edition collection launching in stores on November 15.
Around midnight the event reached its crescendo, with dancers in Maison Martin Margiela for H&M creating a circular floor sculpture on the first floor to the sounds of Leonard Cohen’s “Dance me to the End of Love” as guests peered over each of the floors to watch. At the performance’s end, the sky erupted in confetti that fell to cover each of the nine floors in shimmering silver.
Everything about last night was just…different. Celebrities including Kanye West (yes his jacket was Margiela), Sarah Jessica Parker, Julianne Moore, Helena Christensen and Leigh Lezark didn’t walk a red carpet, but stood in front of a hazardous looking wall to give interviews. There was no VIP section, and celebrity guests were left to navigate the never-ending stairs like the rest of us (at one point, Julianne Moore was sandwiched between a security guard and me. Shockingly, I felt no pain). Walls collapsed mid-party though no one seemed to care. Thrilling to say the least, last night’s events only helped to build anticipation for the collection’s in-store arrival.